Kansas City Chiefs team physician pleads guilty for role in deadly crash

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The team physician for the Kansas City Chiefs has pleaded guilty for his role in a deadly crash in November of 2023.

Michael Monaco on Friday pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor of careless and imprudent driving and agreed to pay a $2,000 fine.

No evidence showed he was impaired by alcohol or drugs.

Fifty-year-old Robert Piper died after he stopped to help at the scene of a crash on eastbound Interstate 70 near Interstate 470.

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Around 2 a.m. Nov. 6, 2023, a group of teens in a stolen Chevy Equinox drove off the road, hit a rock embankment, and flipped back onto the road, police said.

Police said Piper, who was not involved in the crash, stopped to check on the teens in the Equinox.

Monaco, a team physician for the Chiefs, was also driving his Ford F-150 on eastbound I-70 and came upon the overturned car about three minutes after the crash.

A lawsuit, filed by Piper’s family, notes Monaco had just returned from Germany where the Chiefs played against the Miami Dolphins on Nov. 5.

The lawsuit says Monaco tried to move from the right lane to the center lane; however, he ended up hitting the back of the Equinox and Piper.

The lawsuits filed by both victims families were recently settled for undisclosed terms.

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The Piper family’s lawsuit alleges Monaco was driving 6 miles over the 65 mph speed limit and didn’t hit his brakes until the crash. They also argue he had sufficient visual cues and warnings to notice the crash, slow down and change lanes, and several other vehicles did so.

One teen in the Equinox died from the initial crash. First responders took the other teens to the hospital.

According to a statement Friday by the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office, multiple other vehicles managed to avoid and drive around the crash, but Monaco did not. He never broke, swerving at the last moment before striking the overturned SUV and Piper in his F-150 at 71 miles per hour.

In the statement Friday the prosecutor’s office stressed the original crash scene was caused by the juvenile who wrecked the stolen vehicle. At the time of the crash, the underage driver was under the influence of marijuana.

This marks the most appropriate outcome of the portion of this tragedy that is under the jurisdiction of the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office.  Our community, especially young teens, should heed a life-and-death lesson here. Underage drivers on drugs pose a deadly threat. Our sympathies go to the families of both victims, one who died young and promising and another who simply was trying to offer aid and comfort,” the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office statement concluded.

Prosecutors also said there was no evidence the Chiefs physician was driving impaired. As for the juvenile who caused the first crash, the prosecutor’s office said any charges were referred to Family Court.

Monaco’s attorney Ralph Monaco couldn’t be reached for comment Friday. In January when the first lawsuit was filed he responded to FOX4 questions saying “It’s devastating. Mike’s emotionally distraught over it. Total sympathies go out to the Pipers. It’s just a horrible event.”

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