Man sentenced to seven years for manslaughter, assault

Monday, March 15, 2010 | 6:58 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — A Harrisonville man was sentenced to seven years in prison for causing an accident that killed a Sacramento woman and injured her mother.

Michael Ladd, 43, was driving on Route B in February of last year when he swerved into the wrong lane and sideswiped another car, causing both vehicles to spin out of control, according to a previous Missourian report. The driver of the other car, Janet Bakos, 44, was thrown from the car and pronounced dead on the scene by paramedics. Her mother, 72-year-old Sadie Elliot of Columbia, was injured in the crash and had to be extracted from the car by firefighters.

Both Bakos and Elliot were wearing seat belts.

Ladd pleaded guilty to both charges in January. Monday, he was sentenced to serve two seven-year sentences for manslaughter and second-degree assault concurrently.

Gerald Mueller, Ladd's attorney, wanted probation for his client because Elliot said that she did not want Ladd to go to jail for any amount of time, Mueller said. He also expressed his client’s remorse over this “terrible ordeal.” Ladd was in court, but only answered the judge's questions.

Stephanie Morrell, the prosecuting attorney, said Ladd should be sentenced to seven years, citing his open guilty plea, Elliot's extensive injuries and Ladd’s two prior driving while intoxicated charges.

Ladd was initially charged with possession of methamphetamines as well. However, the state was unwilling to pursue the charge, according to Missouri A first test showed that there was no meth in Ladd's system. This test did not check through to zero percent, however, and a second test found a small amount, said Mueller.

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