Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) employee Lyndon Ebker was hit by a car and killed nearly 2 1/2 years ago.
In April 2016, Norman Haimila, then 82, Hermann, was charged with felony assault on a highway worker and misdemeanor operating a vehicle without insurance.
At a hearing Friday, Nov. 2, Haimila pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to a $10,000 fine and his driver’s license has been revoked for life.
The sentence was handed down by 23rd Circuit (Jefferson County) Judge Diana Bartels, who was the fifth judge in the case.
Ebker’s daughter, Nicole Herbel, said the family was pleased with the outcome of Friday’s hearing.
“I’m happy,” Herbel said. “At the end of the day, Dad isn’t coming back. I’d like to have seen the process go quicker, but it’s nice that it’s over.”
Herbel added a key for the Ebker family in discussions with the prosecution was the lifetime revocation of Haimila’s driver’s license.
“The judge asked him to turn over his license right there in the courtroom,” Herbel said. “Then she held it up for all of us to see.”
In the years since the accident, the Ebker family and former MoDOT co-workers have been very outspoken about road worker safety and awareness.
In fact, during summer meetings MoDOT selected the issue of increasing fines and automatic license revocation as a top legislative priority for 2019.
“With this case being wrapped up, the family is continuing to work with MoDOT to change the law on the signs. We are addressing the General Assembly again in 2019, to make the license removal immediate instead of waiting years to see this happen.”
The felony charges against Haimila stem from an April 2016 incident when a car allegedly driven by Haimila struck and killed Ebker, 55, New Haven, on the Boeuf Creek bridge outside of New Haven.
According to the Missouri Highway Patrol report, Ebker was stopping eastbound traffic to let westbound vehicles pass through the work zone. Haimila apparently swerved to avoid a stopped dump truck and his car struck Ebker.
He was struck by Haimila’s Volkswagen sedan at about 9:15 a.m., the patrol said.
Ebker was pronounced dead at the scene by New Haven EMS personnel.
When criminal charges were originally filed against Haimila in August 2016, the case was assigned to then 20th Judicial Circuit Presiding Judge Gael Wood, who presided over several preliminary hearings in the case before his retirement in October 2017.
Upon his appointment by then Gov. Eric Greitens, Judge Craig Hellmann inherited the case in December 2017, but later recused himself from the case May 4.
The case then landed with new 20th Judicial Circuit Presiding Judge Ike Lamke, who also recused himself from the case just three weeks later on May 22.
On May 31, the Missouri Supreme Court appointed Judge Michael Wright to preside over the case.
Wright’s appointment was met with resistance by Haimilia’s attorney and a change of judge request was granted on June 8.
Judge Diana Bartels was assigned by the Supreme Court on July 3.
The first hearing she would have presided over was scheduled for Aug. 29, but was moved to last Friday instead.
Last fall, the bridge on Highway 100 where Ebker was killed was renamed in his honor due to twin bills sponsored by Franklin County legislators in the state House and Senate. The bill was later signed by then Gov. Eric Greitens and signage was placed on the bridge.