Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, First Division
FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF WAYNE COUNTY Honorable Sidney T.
Pearson, III, Circuit Judge.
Steffen Rahmeyer, J.
Scott Sykes ("Defendant") appeals claiming in a
single point that the trial court erred under section
490.065.2, RSMo Cum.Supp. 2017, in permitting a highway
patrolman to opine that Defendant was driving a truck when it
collided with a car. Defendant does not challenge the
trooper's qualification as an accident reconstructionist
or that the reconstructionist's knowledge would help the
jury understand the evidence or determine a fact in issue,
but rather, Defendant asserts the reconstructionist's
opinion that Defendant was driving was not based on
sufficient facts or data, and was not the product of reliable
principles and methods reliably applied to the facts of the
case as required by section 490.065.2 for expert testimony.
We reject Defendant's claim and affirm the trial
and Procedural Background
was charged by amended information with two counts of the
class C felony of assault in the second degree and with being
a prior offender (based on a 2003 felony conviction for
possession of cocaine and marijuana). The amended information
charged that, on June 5, 2015, Defendant operated a motor
vehicle "while under the influence of alcohol" and
"acted with criminal negligence" in
"speeding" and "fail[ing] to stop at a stop
sign" causing "physical injury" to the driver
of a second vehicle (Count I) and to a passenger in
Defendant's vehicle (Count II).
trial court conducted a pretrial hearing in which two
officers testified to their conclusions that Defendant was
driving the truck involved in the accident. Sergeant Pulley
was questioned at the pretrial hearing. The trial court
THE COURT: Counsel, you seem to be under the impression that
he is relying on some kind of scientific tests to determine
who was driving. What he's told us in this hearing is
that it was based on the fact that his DNA and his blood was
on the steering wheel. That's not a scientific test. If
you want to question him about the tests themselves, which I
assume he didn't do, someone else did, tested blood and
things. I'm not sure why you're getting into what
you're getting into. He didn't base it on scientific
tests, did you? What did you base your conclusion that he was
A. What I explained. The totality of the circumstances,
talking to the occupants, talking to - my examination of the
scene, my examination of the vehicle later where we
discovered the blood, the DNA evidence, that led to him.
THE COURT: Did you perform any scientific tests in this
trial court later asked:
THE COURT: - are you basing your opinion on all these studies
or are you basing your opinion on the fact that this
defendant's blood was on the steering wheel, they were
hit from the right, and when ...