Police pulled over car full of teens, gave sobriety test an hour before fatal crash

Posted at 5:37 PM, Jun 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-28 17:37:51-04

EXCELSIOR SPRINGS, Mo. -- Police in Missouri stopped a car full of teenagers and performed a sobriety test an hour before a fiery single-vehicle crash that killed two and injured two others on Monday.

Excelsior Springs police told WDAF they stopped the vehicle around 3:23 a.m. because the officer "heard someone yelling loudly from within the vehicle, and the vehicle had an inoperable license plate light."

Credit: WDAF

During the traffic stop, the officer detected an "odor of alcohol" coming from within the vehicle. The passengers admitted to the officer they had consumed alcohol at a party before being picked up by 19-year-old Anthony Dunlap, who family members identified as the designated driver.

Police said Dunlap was asked to exit the vehicle and perform a series of field sobriety tests.

"The driver exhibited no signs of impairment. The driver further submitted to a portable breath test, which showed less than half of .02 BAC," police said in a news release.

In Missouri, if a driver under 21 has a blood alcohol content BAC of .02 or higher, the driver can be cited for driving under the influence. Because Dunlap's BAC was less than .01, Dunlap could not be cited for "minor in possession."

19-year-old Anthony Dunlap (WDAF)

Police said Dunlap was cooperative during the traffic stop and told police he would activate the window locks to keep his friends in the car.

Officers searched the vehicle and no alcohol or alcoholic beverage containers were found.

"With no legal justification to further detain the driver," the teenagers were released from the traffic stop around 3:46 a.m.

Around 4:20 a.m., Dunlap was headed south on Highway 291 when he struck a pole, causing the vehicle to overturn and catch fire.

Dunlap and 17-year-old Michael Smith died in the crash. Two other male passengers were taken to the hospital for treatment.

A victim's family member told WDAF they believe Dunlap fell asleep behind the wheel.

Police declined WDAF's request for an on-camera interview to discuss the traffic stop.