Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, First Division
FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF MARIES COUNTY Honorable William E.
Hickle, Circuit Judge.
Steffen Rahmeyer, J.
Lee Ellis ("Appellant") was convicted after a jury
trial of the class D felony of driving while intoxicated. He
complains in his sole point relied on that the trial court
erred in not granting a judgment of acquittal because the
State failed to prove he was intoxicated while driving.
Specifically, Appellant argues that although there was
evidence of his intoxication six hours after his car was
seen, there was not sufficient evidence that he was driving
at the time that he was intoxicated. We disagree.
acknowledged by Appellant, in reviewing this challenge to the
sufficiency of the evidence, we accept as true all evidence
and its inferences in the light most favorable to the
verdict. State v. Botts, 151 S.W.3d 372, 275
(Mo.App. W.D. 2004). The State may rely on direct and
circumstantial evidence to meet its burden of proof.
State v. Howell, 143 S.W.3d 747, 752 (Mo.App. W.D.
2004). We may "not supply missing evidence, or give the
State the benefit of unreasonable, speculative, or forced
inferences." State v. Whalen, 49 SW.3d 181, 184
(Mo. banc 2001) (internal quotations and citation omitted).
Given this standard, for ease of reading, we will set forth
the evidence in a timeline.
• There was a 12-pack of beer in Appellant's fridge
and he "drank before [he] left" in his truck with
his girlfriend. (Appellant's girlfriend)
• Appellant and his girlfriend got into Appellant's
truck by approximately 6:30 p.m. (Appellant's girlfriend
and Sheriffs deputy)
• The truck was observed traveling 85 mph and was chased
by a Maries County Sheriffs deputy. The truck sped down
highways and private roads with the deputy going 100 mph to
try to catch it. The truck went into a field and failed to
come out the gate from the field. (Sheriffs deputy)
• The truck passed the farm owner who observed it
traveling at a high rate of speed on his private road at
approximately 6:45 p.m. (Witness Breeding)
• The officer searched by foot and located tire tracks
along a creek. He followed the tracks and found the truck
resting "nose first" in an overgrown cluster of
willow trees. The truck's doors were locked and the hood
was "warm to the touch." The truck had been driven
over some rocks and logs and was immovable. (Sheriffs deputy
and Witness Breeding)
• The truck was traced to Appellant's mother. The
Sheriff called Appellant's phone around 8 p.m. and left a
voice mail message stating that police were looking for him.
(Sheriffs deputy and Sheriff) . Appellant
returned the call twenty to twenty-five minutes later,
identified himself and said they "were only going to be
able to get him for speeding and maybe driving without a
• Appellant became more agitated during the call and
began yelling; his speech was slurred. When asked if he had
been drinking, Appellant replied, "Yes, earlier, but not
while driving" and "I'm not even that
drunk." Appellant told the Sheriff he was lost in the
woods and did not know where he was; Appellant agreed to turn
himself in when Appellant found a mailbox number on the road
and told the Sheriff. The Sheriff stayed on the phone with
Appellant until he heard officers arresting him. (Sheriff)
• Appellant's shirt was ripped, he had abrasions on
his legs and dirt and mud on his face; he had a cell phone
and set of vehicle keys in his pocket. (Sheriffs deputy and
• Appellant smelled of intoxicants, his speech was
slurred, and he had to be held up because he was ...