Taney County Prosecuting Attorney Jeffrey M. Merrell announced today that DAISY M. MARKS (DOB: 2/26/1988) of Branson, Missouri, was found guilty of the felonies of involuntary manslaughter in the first degree and assault in the second degree. Circuit Judge Tony W. Williams announced the verdict today, after considering evidence presented earlier this year in a two-day bench trial by Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Thomas Kondro. Formal sentencing is scheduled for September 18, 2018.
At trial, the evidence presented by the prosecution showed that Marks recklessly caused a fatal car crash on March 20, 2016, while driving approximately 35 miles per hour over the speed limit on a city street in Branson. As a result of the crash, a three year-old girl died. Her grandmother was left with permanent and serious injuries.
On the afternoon of March 20, Marks had been driving eastbound on Gretna Road, east of Roark Valley, where the posted speed limit is 40 miles per hour. Marks abruptly accelerated while entering a curve in close proximity to other traffic, and lost control of her vehicle. She crossed into an adjacent lane, striking the victims’ vehicle from the side and pushing them across a median. The victims’ vehicle was then struck by oncoming traffic. Data collected from Marks’s 2014 Corvette after the crash indicated that Marks had pushed the gas pedal to 99% of its maximum extension, reached a speed of approximately 75 miles per hour, and had not braked in the seconds before the collision.
Sgt. Stanley Kauffman of the Branson Police Department led the crash investigation, with vital and substantial assistance from Sgt. Scott Richardson of the Missouri Highway Patrol. Both the police department and Patrol devoted many hours to collecting and analyzing data from the crash scene and the vehicles involved. Their work continued through the trial, which ended on April 6, 2018.
Under the law in 2016, involuntary manslaughter in the first degree, and assault in the second degree, are both class C felonies. The range of punishment for a class C felony is a sentence of two (2) to seven (7) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections, or up to one (1) year in the county jail, or a fine of up to $5,000, or a combination of fine and imprisonment.