Mar 04, 2024

Harsh reaction: Gov. shortens prison sentence of former Chiefs assistant

Posted Mar 04, 2024 2:00 PM
Britt Reid as seen in his Missouri Dept. of Corrections booking photo
Britt Reid as seen in his Missouri Dept. of Corrections booking photo

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson on Friday shortened the prison sentence of former Kansas City Chiefs assistant coach Britt Reid for a drunken driving crash that seriously injured a 5-year-old girl. Lawmakers and others have criticized the governor for the decision.

A portion of the list released by Parson's office.&nbsp;<a href="">Click here to see</a>&nbsp;the full list from the governor's office.
A portion of the list released by Parson's office. Click here to see the full list from the governor's office.

Parson's commutation converted the remainder of Reid's three-year prison sentence to house arrest, subject to several conditions. Reid had been sentenced in November 2022 after pleading guilty to driving while intoxicated causing serious bodily injury. He is the son of Chiefs coach Andy Reid.

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker criticized the governor's decision. "I believed that the court’s sentence of 3 years imprisonment for Britt Reid was a just sentence. Leaving the courtroom, I believed that the interests of justice were served after a sentencing hearing on the merits. The Court carefully considered the evidence and the harm to our 5-year-old victim, Ariel, and her family."

Ariel photo GoFundMe
Ariel photo GoFundMe

"It also properly considered the unlawful behavior of the defendant, a repeat offender in other states who chose again to drive while intoxicated. I believe that this was a tragic case for the Court to weigh, and I am grateful for the judge's thoughtful and deliberate decision-making."

"I had believed that the sentence was an example for others that even those with resources and privilege were not above the law. "

"The Governor did not contact anyone who handled this case, or those directly impacted, including Ariel’s family," Baker continued. "There simply can be no response that explains away the failure to notify victims of the offender. To Ariel's family, I offered my resolve to continue to fight for just sentences for those who injure others due to the reckless decision to drink alcohol and operate a motor vehicle."

"We are reminded that this governor did not use his political power to commute the sentence of Kevin Strickland and Lamar Johnson. He used his political power to free a man with status, privilege and connections. Both Kevin and Lamar are freed today under the rule of law, but only after difficult battles to gain their freedom."

"Finally, to my community, I simply say I am saddened by the self-serving political actions of the Governor and the resulting harm that it brings to the system of justice. But my office will fight for just outcomes regardless of social status, privilege or one's connections. This system of justice still stands and will prevail over any fleeting political knock. Of this I am certain," Baker wrote.

Missouri State Sen. Mary Elizabeth Coleman who is running for Congress also criticized Parson.

Parson is a longtime Chiefs season ticket-holder holder who celebrated with the team at its recent Super Bowl victory parade in Kansas City. A Parson spokesman said the governor considered several factors when making his commutation decision.

“Reid had completed his alcohol abuse treatment program and has served more prison time than most individuals convicted of similar offenses,” Parson spokesman Johnathan Shiflett said.

Reid's house arrest will continue until Oct. 31, 2025, with requirements for weekly meetings with a parole officer and peer support sponsor and attendance at behavioral counseling. He also will be required to work at least 30 hours a week and complete 10 hours a month of community service, among other things.

The Chiefs declined to comment about Parson’s commutation of Reid.

Prosecutors said Reid was intoxicated and driving about 84 mph (135 kph) in a 65 mph zone when his Dodge truck hit the cars on an entrance ramp to Interstate 435 near Arrowhead Stadium on Feb. 4, 2021.

A girl inside one of the cars, Ariel Young, suffered a traumatic brain injury. A total of six people, including Reid, were injured. One of the vehicles he hit had stalled because of a dead battery, and the second was owned by Ariel’s mother, who had arrived to help.

Reid had a blood-alcohol level of 0.113% two hours after the crash, police said. The legal limit is 0.08%.

The Chiefs reached a confidential agreement with Ariel’s family to pay for her ongoing medical treatment and other expenses.

An attorney who represented Ariel's family did not immediately respond to messages Friday.

Reid's sentencing reprieve was one of three commutations and 36 pardons announced Friday by Parson, who also denied 63 clemency requests.

Parson, a former sheriff, has now granted clemency to more than 760 people since 2020 — more than any Missouri governor since the 1940s. Parson has been been working to clear a backlog of nearly 3,700 clemency applications he inherited when taking over as governor in 2018, but he also has considered some new requests.

Many of those granted clemency by Parson were convicted decades ago of drug crimes, theft or burglary and had completed their prison sentences long ago.

But two notable exceptions were Mark and Patricia McCloskey. The St. Louis couple who gained national attention for waving guns at racial injustice protesters were pardoned by Parson on July 30, 2021, just six weeks after Mark McCloskey pleaded guilty to misdemeanor fourth-degree assault and Patricia McCloskey pleaded guilty to misdemeanor harassment.