Former Jefferson County deputy charged with felony DWI, involuntary manslaughter

Deputy Colby McCreary was charged following a crash that resulted in the death of his wife, Savannah McCreary, 28.
Published: Jun. 6, 2023 at 8:56 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - A former Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office deputy has been charged with felony driving while intoxicated resulting in the death of another and involuntary manslaughter, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office announced on Tuesday.

The Sheriff’s Office said that former Deputy Colby McCreary was charged following a crash that resulted in the death of his wife, Savannah McCreary, 28.

Savannah McCreary’s mother, Krista Kalpakoff, described her daughter as, “An amazing beautiful person,” and added, “She was so outgoing, so full of life.”

The crash happened on I-55 near Manley Quarry Road in Festus, Missouri, in the early hours of April 30. According to a probable cause statement by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, toxicology results from McCreary showed he had a blood alcohol content of .17%, above the BAC limit of .08% in Missouri.

According to MSHP, witnesses to the crash watched the Jeep Cherokee that Colby McCreary was driving that night veer off the right side of the roadway, strike a wall and then overturn. Both Colby and Savannah McCreary, who was in the passenger seat, were ejected from the car. MSHP also found that the Jeep was traveling at 87 miles per hour prior to the crash through an event data recorder in the Jeep.

MSHP’s probable cause statement said other witnesses had seen Colby McCreary drinking alcohol on April 29 before the crash.

Savannah McCreary was transported to Mercy Hospital South, where she was pronounced dead.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said that a Lt. Colonel with the office had called the Festus Police Department to ask about the crash and offer investigative support.

In a press release, the Sheriff’s Office said in part that the colonel “was told Festus Police Officers had wrapped up the investigation, and the driver showed no signs of impairment. No Sheriff’s Office employees were on the crash scene while the victims were present, but they arrived later.”

Festus Police Chief Doug Wendel told News 4 officers on the scene didn’t detect the smell of alcohol and that Colby McCreary was injured and in no condition for a field sobriety test.

He said there were rumors that the couple had been drinking before the crash. But Wendell said it took a few days to get concrete information on that and as soon as they did the department reached out to MSHP.

The Sheriff’s Office said MSHP told them that Festus Police had requested them to conduct an additional investigation on or around May 10.

“I have read the Probable Cause affidavit completed by the Highway Patrol,” said Sheriff Dave Marshak, in a press release. “The information contained is substantially different than what we were told on April 30th. The allegations are disheartening and, if true, are not consistent with our values and expectations of our employees.”

The McCreary family released this statement to News 4:

“Our family is grieving the loss of Savannah who was an incredible wife, mother and daughter-in-law. Savannah was a shining light to all who knew her. We are intensely focused on the mental health of our grandchildren who have suffered an unimaginable loss. We love and support our son Colby unconditionally and will remain steadfastly by his side despite the allegations he is facing. We offer our sincerest gratitude to everyone who has offered their support during this incredibly sad and challenging time for our entire family.”

Wendel was adamant that there was no effort to brush the investigation under the rug because it involved a fellow law enforcement officer. And he said no one contacted the department trying to influence the outcome of the investigation.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office had organized a fundraiser event to take place on June 10 to support Colby McCreary and his family following the death of Savannah McCreary. The office announced that in light of the charges being brought against Colby McCreary, they have postponed the event. They said they will work with community volunteers and sponsors to find the best path forward to help McCreary’s children.

“We feel for everyone affected by this loss,” said Marshak.

Colby McCreary has been released on a $10,000 bond after being booked at the Jefferson County Jail. He is no longer an employee of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.