COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) – A St. Louis man whose vehicle hit and killed two men along Interstate 70 near Columbia has pleaded guilty to two counts of involuntary manslaughter.

Sixty-two-year-old Earl Hutcherson was scheduled to go on trial Wednesday on two counts of second-degree murder but agreed to a plea deal on Monday. The deal recommends a 10-year sentence on each count, to run concurrently.

Columbia police say 72-year-old Edward Taggart of Prairie Home and 73-year-old Gilbert Love of Auxvasse were putting gas in a van on the shoulder of the interstate in July 2011 when they were hit by Hutcherson’s vehicle.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reports police said Hutcherson made statements about using a cellphone before the crash and that alcohol also was believed to be a factor in the crash.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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