- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 8, 2015

WARRENTON, Mo. (AP) - A 19-year-old suburban St. Louis man has admitted in court that he was hill jumping in his pickup truck with friends when he caused a fatal chain-reaction crash in 2013.

Cameron Neil Kopecky pleaded guilty Tuesday in Warren County to felony involuntary manslaughter and a misdemeanor charge of operating a vehicle in a careless, imprudent manner, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (https://bit.ly/1UA5vSo ) reported.

Kopecky faces up to four years in prison on the felony and as much as a year in jail on the misdemeanor when sentenced Sept. 1.

Authorities allege that Kopecky was speeding and cresting a hill on July 23, 2013, when his pickup truck crashed into two vehicles were parked behind each other to assist a driver whose car was in a ditch. One of those Samaritans, 58-year-old Deborah Hughes of Warrenton, died of her injuries six days later.

Kopecky, who was 17 at the time of the accident, was not injured. Several people also were hurt, including two passengers in Kopecky’s truck and a rider in one of the stopped vehicles, 32-year-old Jennifer Graves.

Graves later sued Kopecky and four teenagers who were passengers in his truck, seeking more than $100,000 in damages. The still-unresolved lawsuit alleges the passengers encouraged Kopecky to drive at excessive speeds to go airborne over hills.

Graves, who also has sued the driver she stopped to help, alleges she has sustained permanent injuries to her head, neck, back, right lung, legs, hips, arms and right shoulder.

Graves and a relative of Hughes declined comment after attending Tuesday’s plea hearing.

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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, https://www.stltoday.com


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