From: Platte County Prosecuting Attorney "Eric Zahnd"
Date: April 9, 2015
Subject: Man guilty of vehicular manslaughter involving prescription drugs
A Kansas City man has pleaded guilty to killing another man while speeding and under the influence of drugs. Anthony J. Battaglia, 30, pleaded guilty on April 9 in Platte County Circuit Court to involuntary manslaughter and possession of a controlled substance after allegedly driving at more than 80 miles per hour while on several different prescription drugs.
Platte County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd said, “Even though the drugs in this defendant’s system are legal when prescribed, it’s still illegal to drive when impaired by them. Sadly, a beloved husband, father, and grandfather is dead because of the defendant’s irresponsible actions.”
On February 10, 2014, Battaglia’s GMC Yukon left the road and rear-ended a Chevrolet Malibu parked on the shoulder near I-435 and Missouri 152.
The driver of the Malibu, Donald G. Rippy, was transported to North Kansas City Hospital and pronounced dead. The passenger of the Malibu was also transported to North Kansas City Hospital for treatment.
Highway patrol officers noted that Battaglia appeared disoriented and confused at the scene. Battaglia was arrested and investigators obtained a search warrant for his blood.
An investigation by the Highway Patrol’s Major Crash Investigation Unit showed that, according to the vehicle’s “black box,” Battaglia’s vehicle was travelling at 82 miles per hour just before the impact, and at 78 miles per hour at impact. An analysis of Battaglia’s blood showed it contained amphetamine, alprazolam, carisoprodol, hydroxybuproprion, and meprobamate. All of those substances are contained in legal prescription medications, but Battaglia did not have a prescription for alprazolam, commonly known as Xanax.
Zahnd said his office would recommend Battaglia serve 10 years in prison for his crimes. Battaglia’s defense attorneys could ask the court to impose any lesser sentence, including probation. Battaglia remains in custody with bond set at $50,000 and is scheduled to be sentenced on June 11.
“It’s appropriate that this man serve time in prison for his crimes,” Zahnd said. “Even though the defendant did not intend on killing anyone, the fact remains that Mr. Rippy was tragically taken from his family because the defendant chose to drive well over the speed limit while under the influence of a cocktail of prescription drugs.”
The case was investigated by the Missouri State Highway Patrol. It is being prosecuted by First Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Mark L. Gibson and Assistant Prosecutor Amy Ashelford.
A photo of Battagila is above. If you need additional information, please contact Jill Brockman, our office’s media liaison, or me.
Eric G. Zahnd
Platte County Prosecuting Attorney
415 Third Street, Suite 60
Platte City, Missouri 64079
(816) 858-3472 (fax)