A Carthage man was sentenced to serve seven years in prison for his role in a 2008 vehicle chase and crash that killed three people, including two young children.


A Carthage man was sentenced to serve seven years in prison for his role in a 2008 vehicle chase and crash that killed three people, including two young children.

James Myers, 24, Carthage, was officially sentenced on Friday to the maximum allowable sentence, seven years in prison, after pleading no contest in January to one count of felony first degree involuntary manslaughter.

Jasper County Prosecutor Dean Dankelson said the sentence was appropriate for the crime.

“It was what we recommended and what the judge handed down,” Dankelson said.

Myers entered an Alford Plea, in which he says he is innocent but the prosecution has enough evidence that a jury would likely find him guilty, the day before he was to stand trial on three counts of involuntary manslaughter.

Myers was charged in the deaths of Earl Wayne McAfee, 19; Jazmen Schlechter, 3 and Neil Wayne McAfee, four months. Earl McAfee was Neil McAfee’s father.

Carthage police said Myers and someone in McAfee’s vehicle got into a verbal argument at the convenience store at Oak Street and Baker Avenue, roughly 45 minutes before the crash at 9:45 a.m., Aug. 10, 2008, on Civil War Road near the bridge where it crosses Spring River.

Police said between 20 and 30 witnesses told them Myers’ vehicle chased Earl McAfee’s vehicle around Carthage “violating several traffic laws, running at a high rate of speed.”

The alleged chase ended on Civil War Road when Earl McAfee’s vehicle, a 1989 Ford Bronco, ran off the road and rolled several times, in the process ejecting the six people through doors and windows. None of the six were wearing their seatbelts, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

Survivors of the wreck included Sheala D. Wright, 23, Aaron Taylor, 17 and Timothy Maggard, 22, all of Carthage.