Missouri governor offers ‘deepest sympathy’ after reducing former Chiefs assistant’s DWI sentence

FILE - Britt Reid, left, walks to a courtroom with his attorney J.R. Hobbs, right, Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022, at the Jackson County Courthouse, in Kansas City, Mo. Facing a flurry of outrage over the decision to shorten the prison sentence of former Kansas City Chiefs assistant coach Britt Reid, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson offered “deepest sympathy” to the family of a 5-year-old girl who was seriously injured in a drunken driving crash. But Parson stopped short of apologizing in a statement Tuesday, March 5, 2024, to The Kansas City Star for his decision last week to commute the remainder of Reid’s three-year prison sentence to house arrest, subject to several conditions. (Tammy Ljungblad/The Kansas City Star via AP, File)

FILE – Britt Reid, left, walks to a courtroom with his attorney J.R. Hobbs, right, Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022, at the Jackson County Courthouse, in Kansas City, Mo. Facing a flurry of outrage over the decision to shorten the prison sentence of former Kansas City Chiefs assistant coach Britt Reid, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson offered “deepest sympathy” to the family of a 5-year-old girl who was seriously injured in a drunken driving crash. But Parson stopped short of apologizing in a statement Tuesday, March 5, 2024, to The Kansas City Star for his decision last week to commute the remainder of Reid’s three-year prison sentence to house arrest, subject to several conditions. (Tammy Ljungblad/The Kansas City Star via AP, File)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has offered his “deepest sympathy” to the family of a 5-year-old girl who was seriously injured in a drunken driving crash, after facing criticism for releasing from prison the driver who caused the crash, former Kansas City Chiefs assistant coach Britt Reid.

But in a statement Tuesday to The Kansas City Star, Parson stopped short of apologizing for commuting the remainder of Reid’s three-year prison sentence to house arrest, subject to conditions.

Parson’s office said no one asked the governor — who is a Chiefs fan — to commute the sentence, including Reid himself, his father Chiefs coach Andy Reid, or anyone else associated with the team that recently won the Super Bowl for the second consecutive year.

Parson spokesman Johnathan Shiflett later provided a copy of the statement to The Associated Press.

“It seems the laws don’t apply equally to the haves and have nots. The haves get favors. The have nots serve their sentence,” the injured girl’s mother, Felicia Miller said in a separate statement provided through the family’s attorney.

Prosecutors said Reid was intoxicated and driving at about 84 mph (135 kph) in a 65 mph (105 kph) zone when his Dodge truck hit two cars on an entrance ramp to Interstate 435 near Arrowhead Stadium on Feb. 4, 2021.

Six people were injured in the collision, including Reid and 5-year-old Ariel Young, who suffered a traumatic brain injury. One of the vehicles he hit had stalled because of a dead battery, and the second was owned by Felicia Miller, who had arrived to help.

Reid pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated causing serious bodily injury and was sentenced to three years. Parson reduced that term and ordered his release on March 1. Reid had been expecting to be released about eight weeks later.

In his statement, Parson expressed his “deepest sympathy for any additional heartache this commutation has caused the Young Family,” saying that was not his intention.

The Republican governor, a longtime Chiefs season ticket holder who celebrated with the team at its recent Super Bowl victory parade in Kansas City, has faced criticism even from within his own party.

“This is not justice,” said State Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer, a Parkville Republican who chairs the Missouri Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee, in a post on X.

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said in a statement that the original sentence was “just,” noting that the crash wasn’t Britt Reid’s first legal issue. He graduated from a drug treatment program in Pennsylvania in 2009 after a series of run-ins with law enforcement. His father was coach of the Philadelphia Eagles at the time.

“He,” Baker said of the governor, “used his political power to free a man with status, privilege and connections.”

She also criticized the governor’s office for not contacting Ariel’s family before freeing Reid, but Shiflett said that is not part of the clemency process.

Reid had anticipated being released April 30 due to time served and completing an intensive treatment program while in custody, Katie McClaflin, Reid’s attorney, told The Star.

“Now that he is out of prison, he’ll continue focusing on maintaining sobriety and being an engaged and present father to his three children,” said McClaflin, who did not return a phone call from the AP seeking comment.

Shiflett has also mentioned the completion of the treatment program as one of the factors the governor considered when deciding to commute Reid’s sentence.

Reid’s house arrest will continue until Oct. 31, 2025, with requirements that include weekly meetings with a parole officer, counseling and community service.

The Chiefs, who have declined to comment on the commutation, reached a confidential agreement with Ariel’s family to pay for her ongoing medical treatment and other expenses.

AP U.S. News

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