UPDATE3: Train demolishes car -- Driver of vehicle identified and could face felony child endangerment charges

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Mon., Nov. 7 2011 - According to the MSHP, the driver of the vehicle has been identified as Monica Sauder, age 31 of Leslie, Mo.

We spoke with Chief John Sheible this afternoon about what Sauder would be charged with.  Sheible said that his officers had issued tickets the night of the incident.  However, because Sauder’s actions met the criteria for felony child endangerment charges, New Haven Police would have to drop their initial charges.

Sheible said, “As a city department, we are not able to file for federal charges; only the state prosecutor has the ability to do so.  We have forwarded the case to State Prosecutor Parks who will then decide whether or not to file for federal charges.”

Currently no charges have been filed, however Sheible mentioned it could take some time before an official decision is made.

Earlier this morning at 2:10 a.m., an alert off-duty New Haven Officer, Reserve Officer Justin Gevers, observed a motor vehicle stuck on the railroad tracks just East of the Olive St. crossing.

After contacting the on-duty officer, Gevers and Officer Rob Kuhlmann made contact with the driver, a 31-year-old white female, who stated she had turned too soon and was stuck on the tracks. The female had her 2-month-old son in the vehicle with her. Officers Gevers and Kuhlmann both noticed a strong odor of intoxicants and an open beer can in the vehicle.

After taking the mother and her child to a safe location, the officers attempted to have train traffic halted until the vehicle could be removed.

Unfortunately, before the Railroad office could relay the information, a westbound train was seen approaching. Officer Kuhlmann attempted to signal the train with his flashlight to slow down while Officer Gevers moved the driver and her child further away from the crossing.

The train struck and demolished the vehicle. The driver was given field sobriety tests, which she failed. A breath test indicated a high presence of alcohol in her system.  The driver was placed under arrest and taken to the Franklin County Adult Detention Center. The child was turned over to a family member. Names are withheld pending charges.

Chief John Sheible would like to thank the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Franklin County Sheriffs Dept. who sent officers to assist the New Haven Police Dept. with this dangerous and unusual situation.