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Crime & Courts

Wrongful death suit filed in Missouri against DeKalb truck driver

Lance T. Lee, 49, of DeKalb
Lance T. Lee, 49, of DeKalb

JOPLIN, Mo. – A wrongful death suit has been filed against the DeKalb truck driver involved in the hit-and-run crash that resulted in the death of an 8-year-old girl, court records show.

Walter Chambers, the father of Destiny Chambers, the girl who police said was hit Sept. 27 as she crossed a street to board a school bus, filed the lawsuit Tuesday against Lance T. Lee, of the 1700 block of Seaman Avenue.

The suit, filed by Chambers’ lawyer, Anita Oakes, names Lee and his employer, USF Holland LLC, and claims he drove at an excessive speed and failed to keep a careful lookout, then failed to use his brakes or slow down. The suit, however, lists Lee’s address as being in the first block of South Washington Street in Milledgeville, which is in Carroll County more than an hour west of DeKalb.

According to online records, no hearing date has been set on the wrongful death lawsuit against Lee. He’s in Jasper County, Missouri, jail on $10,000 bond for the criminal charge of leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in death, to which he pleaded not guilty Thursday. Court records show his lawyer, Thomas Carver, filed a motion for a bond reduction hearing, which will be heard Wednesday.

According to the Joplin Globe newspaper, police said Lee was driving a 2017 Freightliner semitrailer that struck Destiny Chambers as she crossed Newman Road near Sunny Slope Lane to board a school bus.

The Globe report, which cited court records, said police located Lee’s vehicle at an area trucking company called YRC Freight and matched it with debris left behind at the crash scene. Pink fibers from the girl’s clothing were found on the rig, as well, the Globe reported.

Lee initially told investigators he hit a deer on the interstate, then said that he thought he had hit a mailbox near where the bus was stopped, the Globe reported, citing court records.

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