ST. CHARLES COUNTY • Ten months after a 16-year-old St. Charles boy died in a hill-hopping crash on Greens Bottom Road, the driver of the car has been arrested on felony charges.
Michael A. Gianino, 17, was charged this week with involuntary manslaughter and assault.
Gianino was 16 at the time of the crash on Oct. 17, but he has been certified to be tried as an adult in the case.
Originally, police said that a 17-year-old girl was behind the wheel of a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu when it went airborne and crashed, flipping several times. But their investigation showed that Gianino was driving.
The crash killed Clayton Newell, a sophomore at Francis Howell North High School, who had been a member of the JV hockey team.
Gianino, his younger sister Samantha and another teenage girl, who all were students at Francis Howell High School, were also injured in the crash. According to court documents, the assault charges were filed because of the injuries to Samantha Gianino, which were described as serious.
Police say Michael Gianino was traveling in excess of 75 mph and was attempting to jump a hill when the crash happened about 7:20 p.m.
The speed limit on Greens Bottom Road is 35 mph. It is a popular location for thrill-seeking teens who speed up on the hills to try and get their cars airborne over the top. The road runs parallel to Highway 94 near the Missouri River and has two berms 3 to 4 feet high over a creekbed. Officials have said the road has been the site of many serious crashes; other fatalities happened there in 1985 and 2001.
Gianino, who had been living in an unincorporated area of St. Charles County at the time of the accident, now lists an address in St. Petersburg, Fla. His attorney, Ronald J. Brockmeyer, declined to comment Tuesday.
Gianino was being held Tuesday in the St. Charles County Jail; bail has been set at $25,000. A manslaughter conviction carries a prison term not to exceed four years.