Joplin man charged with murder, receiving stolen property, in alleged tractor theft gone wrong in western Law. Co.

Steve Chapman

 The tractor in the incident was driven off this bridge, about a quarter-mile west of Highway 97 on Lawrence 2130, near Stotts City. The bridge stands about 12- feet over the gully it spans. (Photo by Steve Chapman)

A Joplin man is in custody at the Lawrence County Jail after he and another Joplin man allegedly drove a stolen tractor into a ditch near Stotts City, causing a crash which resulted in the death of the other man. Kendall Lee Crosswhite, 38, is charged with second-degree murder and receiving stolen property.
A c c o r d i n g to the probable cause statement in the case, a member of the Missouri State Highway Patrol came across the scene of the accident around 3:35 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 22 on Lawrence 2130, just west of Highway 97, about two miles south of Stotts City. The tractor, a 2011 John Deere 7230, equipped with a loader, was overturned off a bridge on Lawrence 2130, with two men trapped underneath. One man was Crosswhite, who was transported to Cox South in Springfield for treatment to injuries he received. The other man, identified as Justin T. Workman, 35, was pronounced dead at the scene by Lawrence County Coroner Scott Lakin at 4 a.m.
At 10 a.m., the tractor was confirmed as having been stolen from Galena, Kan., about two days earlier.
A cell phone, later found to be belonging to Crosswhite, was found at the scene. A message was sent from the phone stating, “I’ve got a $150,000 tractor on the back.” In a conversation with the message recipient, Crosswhite also said he had a flat tire, but nothing to fix it with.
Later that day, according to the probable cause statement, an investigator spoke with Crosswhite at Cox South; Crosswhite said his “homeboy,” whom he later identified as Workman, contacted him and asked him to bring fuel for a tractor that ran out. Crosswhite then declined to answer any further questions.
According to an accident report filed by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the crash occurred as the tractor went off the left side of the roadway and ran off the bridge. It is unclear whether Crosswhite or Workman was the one driving at the time.
Crosswhite was booked into the Lawrence County Jail on Wednesday, Oct. 23. As of press time, he remained held without bond. According to the criminal complaint against him, he has two prior convictions in Jasper County for theft and receiving stolen property.
Under state law, when the actions of a person who is committing or attempting to commit a felony causes the death of someone else, the person committing the felony can be charged with second-degree murder.


Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


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