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MSHP-logoUPDATE Mitchell W. Morris was arraigned before Judge Thomas D. Swindle in Ripley County Circuit Court today. There was no defending attorney of record and no other court dates have been set. Oxly, Mo. — A 37-year-old O’Fallon, Mo., man is being held in the Doniphan City Jail tonight charged with one count of involuntary manslaughter, and a second count of endangering the welfare of a minor child after allowing a 9-year- old boy to drive a motor vehicle and crash it resulting the in death of his 14-year-old brother.
Mitchell Wayne Morris Jr. is being held on $25,000 cash only bond and is scheduled to appear in Ripley County Court 9 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 9.
Morris and the victim, Damian Winters, were passengers in a 2000 Ford Expedition on Sunday, Sept. 6, on County Road T3 about one mile north of Oxly, when the driver, Donte Westfall, 9, of Oxly ran off the road, hit an embankment and overturned, throwing out all persons in the vehicle. according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Damian Winters, 14, of Oxly was pronounced dead at the scene by Ripley County Coroner Mike Jackson.

Mitchell Morris

Mitchell Morris

In the probable cause statement filed by the Missouri Highway Patrol, the 9-year-old stated “Mitch was driving and had a vodka bottle between his legs; Mitch told me he was smarter and was going to show me how to drive 100 MPH.”
Morris, who was observed to be intoxicated by the Highway Patrol, reportedly told them “I was trying to teach the boy how to drive. I was not driving the vehicle.”
The driver’s seat was observed to be far forward at the time of the crash, Highway Patrol said.
Interviewing Donte he reportedly said “Mitch made me drive. It was my first time to drive. He told me to floor it; I hit the gas but tried to brake, I woke up on the ground, ran to the house for help went back and broke a window to get my brother out but I couldn’t. He was sitting behind me in the truck,” according to the probable cause statement. Neither Morris or Westfall were reported with injury.
The accident occurred at 3:50 p.m. The victim was taken to Edwards Funeral Home, Doniphan, Mo.
To see the criminal complaint and probable cause statement click Mitchell Morris – criminal complaint and probable cause.

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