Reckless homicide charge filed in fatal Columbia crash

Michael Vanderschans

A Missouri man was charged Wednesday with reckless homicide in connection with a September 2018 vehicle crash on Route 3 in Columbia that claimed the life of a local woman.

The Columbia Police Department announced it has obtained an arrest warrant against Michael Vanderschans, 33, of Winfield, Mo., for one count of reckless homicide (motor vehicle) and aggravated unlawful use of an electronic communications device from the Monroe County State’s Attorney’s Office. Vanderschans’ bond had been set at $50,000 on these felony charges.

Vanderschans turned himself into Columbia police on Wednesday and posted bond. He will appear in court at 9 a.m. Thursday, March 28.

Stacie K. Thoma

The charges stem from a two-vehicle crash that occurred the evening of Sept. 2, 2018. Vanderschans was the driver of a white Ford F-150 which was traveling south on Route 3 in Columbia when it collided with a 2002 Buick sedan driven by Stacie Thoma, 37, of Columbia, which was traveling east on Veterans Parkway crossing Route 3 toward Columbia High School. Thoma lost her life in the crash.

On the reckless homicide charge, court information alleges that Vanderschans drove his vehicle at a speed “which was greater than was reasonable and proper with regard to the existing traffic conditions and the safety of persons properly on the roadway and at a time when he was reading a GPS map from a handheld cellular phone, (when) he entered into (the intersection) in disobedience to the steady red traffic control lights at the intersection.”

For more on the crash, click here.

“The Columbia Police Department worked closely with and would like to thank the Columbia Volunteer Fire Department, Columbia EMS, Monroe County State’s Attorney’s Office and Illinois State Police, who assisted at the scene as well as throughout the investigation,” Columbia Deputy Chief of Police Jason Donjon said in a press release.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email