Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Second Division
FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF JACKSON COUNTY, MISSOURI THE
HONORABLE WESLEY BRENT POWELL, JUDGE
Before: Edward R. Ardini, Jr., Presiding Judge, Karen King
Mitchell, Judge and Anthony Rex Gabbert, Judge.
R. ARDINI, JR., JUDGE.
Ryland (Ryland) appeals his convictions for one count of
murder in the second degree, one count of resisting a lawful
stop, three counts of assault in the second degree, and four
counts of armed criminal action following a jury trial.
Ryland argues that the trial court erred in allowing the
State to inaccurately define reasonable doubt and
impermissibly inject excessive emotion into its closing
argument, in not permitting use of prior municipal ordinance
violations to establish a witness's bias, and by denying
his motion for acquittal. Finding no error, we affirm.
and Procedural Background 
September 19, 2014, Ryland met Brandon Harris (Harris) and
Tyler Beisel (Beisel) at the home of Ryland's mother in
Independence. The three consumed some beer, took several
shots of tequila, and smoked marijuana before taking
Ryland's white 2001 Chevrolet Suburban to Grain Valley to
pick up a fourth man identified as Wes. The group then
drove to the Power and Light District in downtown Kansas City
where they drank for several hours before continuing to
Westport, where they consumed more alcohol, before heading
City Police Officer Chad Fowler was patrolling the Westport
area in an unmarked police cruiser during the early morning
hours of September 20th. At approximately 12:47
a.m., he observed Ryland's Suburban traveling at a high
rate of speed at the intersection of 42nd Street
and Southwest Trafficway. Officer Fowler turned onto
Southwest Trafficway and saw the Suburban run a red light at
39th Street. He continued following the Suburban
and activated his lights and siren after observing it run a
second red light at Valentine Road. Officer Fowler pursued
the Suburban on Southwest Trafficway at speeds reaching 90
miles per hour before the Suburban was forced to a stop at
the intersection with 31st Street due to multiple
cars blocking its ability to proceed. Officer Fowler pulled
directly behind the Suburban and shined his spotlight to
indicate to the driver that he was attempting to stop the
vehicle. However, the other vehicles at the intersection
began to move allowing the Suburban to veer sharply to the
right and gain access to 31st Street. Once on
31st Street, the Suburban again accelerated to a
high rate of speed before entering into the oncoming lane of
traffic to avoid more vehicles stopped at a red light at the
intersection with Broadway.
Fowler followed the Suburban onto 31st Street
before discontinuing the pursuit. At trial, he testified that
he ended the pursuit because he believed the driver was not
going to stop and police policy authorized pursuits only in
situations where a person has committed a violent felony.
Officer Fowler further testified that, based on his training
and experience, the driver of the Suburban was operating in a
manner that created a substantial risk of serious physical
injury or death to others. His assessment proved sadly
accurate as, just moments after terminating the pursuit, the
Suburban collided with a Dodge Charger occupied by Malcolm
Timley (Timley) and Michael Hernandez (Hernandez) near the
intersection of 31st Street and Grand Avenue.
resident who lived near the location of the crash, and who
had been outside talking on her phone, testified that she did
not hear the sound of screeching tires before the crash. This
testimony was corroborated by data recovered from the
Suburban that showed no signs of braking prior to the crash.
Rather, the data indicated that during the five seconds
before the collision "the throttle showed to be
depressed 100 percent, basically meaning that [the driver]
had the pedal to the floor." An accident
reconstructionist testified that the Charger had been
traveling in its lane of traffic when the Suburban, traveling
at 80 to 81 miles per hour in the wrong lane of traffic,
collided with it. The Suburban caught fire shortly after the
impact, burning the entire interior and engine compartment.
individuals who immediately responded to the crash scene were
called to testify at trial. One witness testified that she
saw an individual exit the Suburban through the driver's
side rear door and, when asked his name, the individual
responded with a name starting with a "D" or just
said "D." The witness identified Ryland's
jacket, which was recovered by police at the hospital
following the crash, as the one worn by the individual she
saw exiting from the driver's side of the Suburban.
Several other witnesses testified that they saw two
individuals lying on the ground on the passenger's side
of the vehicle. These individuals were helped to the sidewalk
where they were treated by EMTs. One of these individuals was
identified as Harris, who told the EMT treating him that he
had been a passenger in the Suburban.
and Beisel were taken to St. Luke's Hospital following
the crash. Ryland was interviewed by a detective within two
hours of the collision. The detective testified that he
smelled a strong odor of alcohol on Ryland's breath. When
the detective identified himself to Ryland and told him that
he was there to question him about the wreck, Ryland
responded by asking "Am I in trouble?" When the
detective advised him that he did not know the details of the
crash, Ryland proceeded to ask him "How many people did
I hurt?" A search warrant was obtained and Ryland's
blood was drawn at approximately 5:45 a.m., close to five
hours after the crash. He was found to have a blood alcohol
content of .145 at that time. At trial, Ryland testified that
he could not recall who had driven the Suburban from Westport
and could not remember anything about the crash.
was interviewed at the hospital by an officer approximately
five hours after the accident. Beisel indicated that he had
been sitting in the front passenger seat, that Harris had
been seated behind him, and that Ryland had been driving. The
officer returned the next day and Beisel provided a similar
statement, which was recorded by the officer. In addition,
Beisel was shown a photograph of Ryland and wrote on the back
that he was "100% sure Drew Ryland was driving away from
Westport." At trial, Beissel testified that Ryland
visited him in the ICU several days after the crash.
According to Beisel, Ryland apologized for causing the
accident and suggested that the two of them tell law
enforcement that Harris had been driving the Suburban.
Nevertheless, Beisel testified at trial that Ryland, not
Harris, had been driving.
was taken to Truman Medical Center following the collision.
He was first interviewed by police approximately an hour
after the crash. At that time, he told an officer that the
vehicle he had been in was a yellow 2003 Suburban; that it
had been driven by a man named
"Drake;" and that there were two other passengers
in the car, one male and one female. The officer requested
permission to test Harris's blood, to which Harris
responded that "marijuana might come back in it, "
but that he was not driving so it was fine and consented to
the blood draw. His blood alcohol content was .221.
was interviewed by police a second time later the same day
and this time gave a statement that was consistent with the
one given by Beisel; namely that he, Beisel, and Ryland had
left Westport in the Suburban; that Ryland had been driving;
that Beisel had been in the front passenger's seat; and
that he had been seated behind Beisel. This statement was
later supplemented after Harris remembered that he had asked
Ryland to stop when he became aware that the police were
following them. Harris was also shown a photo of Ryland and
wrote and signed on the back that he was "100% sure that
Drew [Ryland] was driving when the crash occurred." At
trial, Harris testified that he could remember leaving the
last bar in Westport, Ryland driving, Beisel yelling
"shotgun, " Ryland trying to find a station on the
radio as the vehicle ran a stoplight, and a Crown Victoria
pulling up behind them followed by Ryland accelerating. He
remembered nothing else from that night and his next memory
was waking up in the trauma unit.
and Timley, the passengers in the Charger that was struck in
the collision, both suffered severe injuries from the crash.
Timley spent two weeks in the hospital followed by five
months in a wheelchair or bed and was still experiencing
severe physical limitations at the time of trial. Hernandez
suffered a bruised skull, blood accumulation on his brain, a
broken nose, several fractured ribs, and bruises to the
chest, abdomen, flanks, on the back of the heart, and to the
lining of both lungs. Blood was found in both sides of the
chest, in the stomach, and in the esophagus. Doctors were
forced to remove several of his internal organs, including
his spleen and a portion of his large bowel. He developed an
infection in his lungs and in the area where his spleen was
removed. Hernandez died on October 8, 2014, eighteen days
after the accident, of complications from multiple blunt
was charged with one count of the class D felony of resisting
a lawful stop in a manner creating a substantial risk of
serious physical injury or death; one count of the class A
felony of second degree (felony) murder for the death of
Hernandez, with the aforementioned resisting a lawful stop
constituting the underlying felony offense; three counts of
the class C felony of assault in the second ...