CARUTHERSVILLE, Mo. (AP) — A businessman has been acquitted of leaving the scene of a deadly southeast Missouri crash after his attorneys argued that that the teenager he struck was already dead after another driver hit her seconds earlier.

The Daily American Republic reports that a judge issued the ruling Monday. Authorities say 40-year-old Benjamin Ressel's pickup truck was the second vehicle to strike 13-year-old Heavenly Hafford in December 2015 in Poplar Bluff. Neither driver stopped.

The judge is considering another defense request that Ressel be acquitted on a tampering-with-evidence charge stemming from allegations that he concealed the truck. Heavenly's DNA was found on the vehicle. After Ressel's arrest, he resigned as chairman of Three Rivers College's Board of Trustees and as a bank vice president.

The other driver is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty.


Information from: Daily American Republic,