Springfield man sentenced to 30 years for crash that killed MSU safety officer

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A Springfield man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for causing a crash that killed one man and injured five others.

Shannon Shaffer Jr. pleaded guilty to 11 total charges for his role in several hit and run crashes in Springfield on July 18th, 2019.

Shaffer was convicted for stealing a Budget Rental truck, then causing multiple crashes around the city. The incidents included a hit-and-run crash near Campbell and Republic Road in Springfield, which killed Matthew Brown, who managed public safety officers at Missouri State University.

Brown’s wife addressed the court during sentencing Friday afternoon, saying her husband was on his way home from work after volunteering to pick up an extra shift.

Brown left behind three children.

“No six, nine, or 12-year-old should ever have to face the reality that their daddy was killed on their way home to them. An immeasurable hole in our family and our community on July 18th, 2019, was created,” Ivy Brown said during her victim statement.

She says her husband will leave behind a legacy for family, friends, and the community.

“Matthew was one of a kind. He truly was the legacy of laughter and love. He was my soulmate,” Ivy Brown stated. “It pains me greatly that the system didn’t protect my husband. A man who was passionately dedicated to that very system, myself, and my children. I do not believe that I can truly explain the devastation caused that night.”

Judge Thomas Mountjoy ultimately decided Shaffer’s sentence – siding with the State’s request on all counts.
Mountjoy told the court Shaffer was a prior and persistent offender; having been convicted of several non-violent crimes in the past.

Shaffer’s defense attorney argued Shaffer had been exposed to drugs at a young age and was under the influence when he stole the truck and caused the crashes.

The State’s prosecuting attorney Emily Shook argued Shaffer showed little remorse in the days and weeks following his arrest. She says Shaffer’s actions prove his intent.

“The defendant wasn’t just involved in one collision. He stole a vehicle and then was involved in collision after collision after collision. And he doesn’t stop driving until he damaged the property and the person of so many people,” says Shook.

Judge Mountjoy ultimately sentenced Shaffer to 90 years total for all 11 charges. However, the sentences will be served concurrently in the Missouri Department of Corrections.

As part of Shaffer’s plea agreement, he will be required to serve 85% of his 30-year sentence until he is eligible for parole.

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