Union Police -- stock

An Owensville man who was allegedly driving under the influence of heroin and caused a car crash in Union that killed his wife was sentenced to prison Monday.

Robert C. Rothermich, 39, entered an Alford plea March 11 to the charges of second-degree murder and possession of a controlled substance. He was indicted in December 2017 on the charges, according to court records.

Rothermich was sentenced to seven years in the Missouri Department of Corrections for second-degree murder, and three years for possession of a controlled substance.

According to the probable cause statement filed with the prosecutor’s office by Union police, on May 24, 2017, Rothermich was swerving and driving a vehicle at a high speed while westbound on Highway 50 in Union when it left the north side of the road, traveled behind a guardrail and overturned in a creek.

The crash happened near Burgundy Drive, in the area of Highway 47 south. 

Both the driver and passenger, Jennifer M. Rothermich, 37, Owensville, were ejected. Neither were wearing a seat belt, Union police said. Jennifer Rothermich was trapped under the vehicle when emergency crews arrived on the scene. 

She died at Mercy Hospital Washington following the crash. Robert Rothermich was seriously injured in the crash. Both were transported by St. Clair EMS to Mercy Hospital Washington for treatment.

Robert Rothermich was found with 34 suspected heroin “beans,” with him, according to Union police.

Under an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt but concedes that authorities have enough evidence to convict him.

He had no previous felony charges, court records indicate.