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Man chasing ex-girlfriend charged in bike fatality

Man chasing ex-girlfriend charged in bike fatality

December 19th, 2013 in News

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) - A Springfield man is charged with second-degree murder in the death of a bicyclist because his ex-girlfriend was speeding to get away from him when she hit the victim, prosecutors said.

Blake Basten, 24, was charged Tuesday with second-degree murder and other charges in the Nov. 17 death of Zachary Gibson, 23, near the Missouri State University campus. Basten's ex-girlfriend, Shannon Smith, 31, was charged with leaving the scene of the accident because she fled after hitting Gibson, police said.

Greene County Court documents say that Basten had flashed a handgun and run a stolen car into the back of Smith's vehicle during a chase that preceded the bicycle accident.

Smith later told police she was speeding through Springfield to avoid Basten and was hoping she would get pulled over by a police officer as she raced toward police headquarters. She said when she arrived at the police headquarters, she stopped and honked for help but Basten hit Smith's car twice from behind, court records indicate.

Investigators reviewed surveillance footage from the headquarters' parking lot and confirmed Basten's car hit Smith's, court records show. Smith sped out of the parking lot with Basten following. She was traveling 85 mph when she went through an intersection and tried to swerve but hit Gibson, court documents said.

Basten is charged under a state law that allows a person to be found guilty of murder if someone dies while he or she is committing a felony. In this case, prosecutors said Basten was committing the crime of tampering in the first degree, in connection with the stolen car he was driving, and domestic assault in the second degree. Those crimes resulted in Gibson's death, prosecutors said.

Basten was arrested four days after the hit-and-run death while trying to flee from Springfield police, court records said. He is being held in Greene County on $250,000 bond. His public defender, James Hayes, on Wednesday declined to comment.