UPDATE: Man Charged with Murder after Highway 54 Crash
JEFFERSON CITY - A Columbia man is in the Cole County Jail this evening for the murder of 19-year-old Chelsea Fredrickson from Camdenton.
Dennis Leporin, 29, was driving a Ford Ranger pickup truck the wrong way on Highway 54 at 9:57 p.m. Wednesday night and struck a Saturn Ion.
Jefferson City Police said Fredrickson, the driver of the Saturn Ion, was pronounced dead at the scene. Her passenger, Jasper Richmond, was flown to the University of Missouri Hospital in Columbia. At the time, hospital officials said he was in critical condition. However, as of Thursday afternoon, his condition had improved to fair. Neither Fredrickson nor Richmond were wearing seatbelts.
The pickup truck driver, Dennis Leporin, was taken to a local hospital for moderate injuries.
Thursday, the Cole County Prosecutor charged Leporin with second-degree murder, second-degree assault, driving a vehicle while intoxicated, driving with a suspended license and driving on the wrong side of the highway.
Accoring to courts.mo.gov, Leporin has a history of driving offenses. In 2008 Leporin was charged with operating a motor vehicle in a careless and imprudent manner, involving an accident. In 2011, he was charged with driving while intoxicated.
KOMU 8 News reached out to some of Fredrickson's boss and coworkers this evening at Lutz's BBQ. They said Fredrickson was always cheerful and responsible and that they were at a loss for words.
Owner Burl Lutz said she will be missed. "She was one of those rare employees that was always happy to come to work every day. She was like a daughter to some of our employees and we are going to miss her."