Daily American Republic
No charges will be filed against a former Poplar Bluff businessman in connection with a December hit-and-run accident that killed a Poplar Bluff teenager. Butler County Prosecuting Attorney Kevin Barbour says his decision not to pursue charges against Ben Ressel was based on his review of all the investigative reports, including the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s reconstruction report, which he received May 27, as well as a lab report. Ressel had been investigated in connection with the crash in which 13-year-old Heavenly Grace Hafford died of blunt-force trauma after she was struck by two vehicles as she was crossing the street. The first vehicle, which allegedly struck the teen, was found while its driver, 42-year-old Randel Sparks, was allegedly destroying evidence from his vehicle. He was arrested and charged with felony leaving the scene of an accident and felony tampering with physical evidence. An investigation led authorities to suspect Ressel was the second driver. Ressel was arrested, his truck was impounded and a search warrant was executed on it. Although Ressel will face no criminal charges, he, along with Sparks, are parties in a wrongful-death lawsuit filed by Hafford’s father, Steven. The lawsuit is set for a case review at 9 a.m. Oct. 24 before Presiding Circuit Judge Michael Pritchett.