Last edited 11:46 a.m., July 19, 2021
The offices of Stone County Prosecuting Attorney Matt Selby and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed charges against employees involved in the Ride the Ducks Branson accident three years ago.
Kenneth McKee, Charles Baltzell and Curtis Lanham are facing felony charges of first-degree involuntary manslaughter, according to a news release. McKee additionally is looking at counts of first-degree endangering the welfare of a child.
In all, a combined 63 charges were filed against the three defendants.
The probable cause statement for the charges alleges McKee failed to exercise his duties as the vessel's captain by entering the lake during a severe thunderstorm warning. The statement alleges Baltzell as operations supervisor and Curtis Lanham as general manager failed to communicate weather conditions and cease operations.
Seventeen people were killed in the July 19, 2018, accident involving the amphibious vehicle. The vessel capsized on Table Rock Lake amid a severe storm. The attraction has since shut down and has never reopened.
Ride the Ducks Branson operator Ripley Entertainment Inc. worked through at least 30 settlements related to the accident, according to past reporting.
The amphibious vehicle industry also has faced legislative scrutiny in the wake of the accident, including work from U.S. Sens. Roy Blunt and Josh Hawley.
Hawley issued this statement on July 19, the third anniversary of the accident: “As we reflect on this entirely preventable accident, we must honor those lost by supporting common-sense legislation to ensure this never happens again. For decades Congress has failed to update safety standards for duck boats and I remain committed to seeing updated standards become law.”
Originally passed in 2020, the Duck Boat Safety Enhancement Act was reintroduced earlier this year.
Revival 98 opened a dispensary; the 101st store for Andy’s Frozen Custard Inc. debuted; and Collectomaniacs card shop consolidated two stores in a move.
Sandra Smart, a technology and commercialization specialist, shares helpful tools and resources to use for the customer discovery phase of launching a new tech business. Smart works with tech entrepreneurs and hosts training workshops through the Missouri SBDC at Missouri State University's efactory.
Jared Rasmussen, Office Leader for Springfield and Joplin with the engineering firm Olsson, explains the vision of the Renew Jordan Creek Project. He says the city's investment demonstrates it's commitment to the community.
Both Jeramey and Julia Henson talk about their experience in PDR (paintless dent repair), and elaborate on the need for efficient time management. Sometimes you need to know when to move on to the next project. Jeramey and Julia Henson are co-owners of the HM Dentworks Academy with Chris McWhirter.
Jessica Oliva, owner of Pickles and Buns food truck and co-owner of Tinga Tacos, says not to assume you know everything. She says her time in the industry has taught her that she always has more to learn.
Sandra Smart, a technology and commercialization specialist, explains what entrepreneurs should know about starting the customer discovery phase for launching your great tech business idea. Smart works with tech entrepreneurs and startups and hosts training workshops through the Missouri SBDC at Missouri State University's efactory.
Hollie Elliot describes the trends she sees in small towns after the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. She says that people see opportunity in these rural places they might not have seen before. Elliott is the Executive Director of the Dallas County Economic Development Group.
Sean Thouvenot, vice president of Branco Enterprises, gives an overview of what the process looks like once you have decided to invest in a new building. This video is sponsored by Branco Enterprises.
Caleb Scott, owner and coach for Queen City Insane Asylum semi-professional football team, talks about team cohesion. He says that despite the fact he may not look the part of a coach, the men look past it to see how they can work together.
Barak Hill, a professional musician living in the Springfield area, recounts when he first realized he could take his music career seriously. He recounts his journey to the point when he realized his passion could do more than pay for itself.
Rachel Barks walks through her experience as an interior designer and a basic understanding of what she considers when looking at an interior space. Barks currently owns Artistree Pottery, a business she started in 2020 after a career in interior design.