For Immediate Release

May 10, 2024

The Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office issued the following statement this afternoon regarding a November 2023 double-fatality accident on Interstate 70.

On Nov. 6, 2023, a stolen vehicle driven by a 15-year-old unlicensed driver crashed on Interstate 70 east of Lee’s Summit Road. The vehicle overturned and landed on its roof. Witnesses stopped to help. Robert Piper of Blue Springs was a Good Samaritan that night, assisting a young man injured in the crash who was later pronounced deceased. Piper died when he was struck by Monaco’s vehicle.

The state’s defendant, Michael Monaco, was driving on Interstate 70 when he came upon the crash scene created by the underage driver just a few minutes earlier. Multiple other vehicles had managed to avoid and drive around the crash, but Monaco did not. He did not brake. He swerved at the last moment before striking the overturned car and Piper.

 The original crash scene was caused by the juvenile who wrecked the stolen vehicle. At the time of the crash, the underage driver was under the influence of marijuana. Any charges against that juvenile would be handled by Family Court.

Monaco today pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor of Careless and Imprudent Driving. He agreed to pay a $2.000 fine.  No evidence showed the defendant was impaired by alcohol or drugs.

This marks the most appropriate outcome of the portion of this tragedy that is under the jurisdiction of the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office.  Our community, especially young teens, should heed a life-and-death lesson here. Underage drivers on drugs pose a deadly threat. Our sympathies go to the families of both victims, one who died young and promising and another who simply was trying to offer aid and comfort.