On May 11, just a day before the official end of MU’s winter 2006 semester, MU student Adam Droesch and his longtime best friend, Greg Keeven, an 18-year-old sophomore at the University of Missouri-Rolla, went out with two other friends.
Droesch attempted to pass another car on Grindstone Parkway near Rock Quarry Road but hit the curb, Columbia police said. He lost control of the car, which tumbled down an embankment.
Keeven died at University Hospital two days after the crash from head injuries, police said.
Columbia police said Droesch had three times the legal limit of alcohol in his bloodstream, and they said they found beer cans in the car.
Droesch pleaded guilty Monday in the 13th Circuit Court to first-degree involuntary manslaughter and two counts of second-degree assault in connection with the crash.
Gerald Keeven, Greg Keeven’s father, said Droesch grew up two doors down from the Keevens’ St. Louis home and still lives there. Gerald Keeven and Mary Keeven, Greg Keeven’s mother, insisted that Droesch sit with them at their son’s funeral. After the funeral, Droesch and other friends finished building a patio at the Keevens’ house.
“We have forgiven him,” Gerald Keeven said Monday afternoon.
He said he has told Droesch that he does not hate him. “He turned to me and said, ‘Mr. Keeven, it would be easier if you did.’ He feels so bad.”
Droesch, 22, and the two other men in the car that night, 22-year-old James Baker, of Poplar Bluff, and 25-year-old James Danchus, of Columbia, were injured.
Keeven, who was studying mechanical engineering, had a 3.5 grade-point average, Gerald Keeven said.
“He was exuberant,” Gerald Keeven said, recalling his son returning home from school and bounding up the stairs to greet him. He said the week of his son’s funeral, Greg was supposed to be racing a car he and some friends had built.
Circuit Judge Gene Hamilton will sentence Droesch on March 26. He faces up to 30 years in prison.
In October, the Keevens agreed to a wrongful-death settlement with Droesch, Droesch’s parents and their insurance company.