Man Charged with Involuntary Manslaughter After Fatal 2016 Crash

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — His blood alcohol concentration was .244 percent – more than three times the legal limit –  when he drove the wrong way down Interstate 44 in 2016, hit another vehicle and allegedly killed a man.

On Monday, 33-year-old Matthew Brungard was charged with first-degree involuntary manslaughter.

A warrant for his arrest was requested by the assistant prosecuting attorney but has not been executed.

According to the probable cause statement, a Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper was dispatched to a head-on collision near the 90.2 mile marker on I-44 on July 11, 2016.

The trooper saw a silver Dodge pickup facing east in the center median. Daniel Vargas, in his twenties, was sitting in the front passenger seat, bleeding from a large head wound.

Vargas was declared dead at the scene.

Brungard was found lying outside the driver’s door of his Chevrolet pickup, eyes closed, according to the statement.

“Due to the strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from Brungard as he had spoke and moaned, his address showing he lived in the area, him having been driving the wrong way on a divided highway, and him not attempting to avoid a head-on collision, I came to the conclusion Brungard had been driving while intoxicated,” the trooper wrote in the statement. 

Brungard was airlifted from the scene to a local hospital due to his injuries.

According to online court records, a wrongful death lawsuit was settled in May against Brungard.

Brungard was convicted in 2011 for a DWI, according to the probable cause statement.

View the full statement below.

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