4:00 PM

Man from Purdy gets 20-year prison sentence for drunken driving crash that killed girl in 2011
Gregory Dean Swaffar (mug shot BCSO)
A man from Purdy has been sentenced to twenty years in prison for a 2011 DWI crash that killed a ten year-old girl from Washburn.

Barry County Prosecutor Johnnie Cox charged Gregory Dean Swaffar, 28, as a prior and persistent offender after his truck crossed the center line of Missouri  37 about a mile from Butterfield on February 19, 2011, and slammed into a car being driven by Kenneth Kief.

Melissa Kief

Kief, who was seriously injured in the crash, and his daughter Melissa were life flighted to a hospital in Springfield.  Melissa Kief died from her injuries a few days later.  A passenger in Swaffars truck, Sandra Larsen, of Shell Knob, was also seriously injured in the crash.

Swaffars truck following the crash

Swaffar should not have been driving any vehicle at the time of the deadly crash.  In September of 2010, his license was revoked after he refused to take a breathalyzer test.  He was also charged with DWI in municipal court in Cassville in 2010 and in Barry County associate circuit court the same year.

Swaffar was charged with felony murder instead of involuntary manslaughter in this case because of his prior convictions for DWI. 

"It's a terrible thing that his actions devastated both families. He will have to spend the better part of his life in prison paying for a crime that could have been avoided if he simply followed the law,"  Cox said after Swaffar was sentenced in Christian County where the case was moved on a change of venue.

In May of 2011, Kenneth Kief filed a wrongful death and personal injury lawsuit against Swaffar.  He was awarded $1 million dollars for his injuries and $2 million dollars for his daughters death after Swaffar failed to show up for court.
In June of 2012, Kief filed a lawsuit seeking the transfer of some real estate holding that Swaffar owns to satisfy part of the judgement.  Judge Jack Goodman is scheduled to hear that case in July in Barry County.