A 22-year-old man suspected of driving while intoxicated — and causing an accident in which two women from Willard died Sunday — bonded out of jail Monday and then took his own life in Battlefield.
Nick Maples, of Clever, committed suicide Monday morning while outside the private residence of someone he knew, said Chris McPhail, Battlefield police chief.
The Springfield Daily Citizen reached out to people who live in Clever and might be related to Maples. It did not hear back.
McPhail said he does not believe Maples spoke to anyone about his plans to end his life. McPhail told KOLR10 that the death was the result of a self-inflicted gunshot.
Ronica Tollison, 37, and Britany Toothman, 34, both of Willard, were pronounced dead at the scene of a two-vehicle accident involving Maples at 12:45 a.m. Sunday at Chestnut Expressway and West Bypass.
The women had been partners for over 10 years, said Amythest Groves, of Lampe, a friend.
“They loved each other fiercely,” Groves said. “There was no hiding that. They were soul mates.”
According to Springfield police, Tollison and Toothman were traveling east on Chestnut Expressway in a pickup truck. Tollison was the driver and Toothman was a passenger.
They turned northbound onto West Bypass and their vehicle collided with a pickup driven by Maples, according to police.
Springfield police said the oncoming truck was traveling “at a high rate of speed.” The trucks collided at the intersection.
Maples was arrested at the scene. According to police, Maples “displayed indications of impairment.”
Maples had not been charged with a crime at the time of his death, said Cris Swaters, spokesperson for Springfield police.
The Springfield Daily Citizen asked Swaters if police had taken a breath sample or blood sample from Maples to check for impairment.
“This is still an active investigation that we will complete,” she said via email. “When the investigation is complete, the full incident report will be available to request.
“We will still complete the full investigation and crash report.”
The two women who lost their lives
Groves said she first met Toothman when they were neighbors in Springfield.
“Britany was my best friend for 15 years,” Groves said. “When my mother passed away, she was there for me. She never left my side. She was someone who everyone would want as a friend.”
Tollison has three children, ages 13, 17 and 19.
In fact, Groves said, the oldest child had only recently moved into an apartment and the two women — Tollison and Toothman — were at the apartment that night for dinner. They were killed on the drive home.
“I lost, basically, my sister and another best friend,” Groves said, referring to Toothman and Tollison.
The children also spend time with their biological father, Groves said.
When asked what the two women did for fun, Groves said, “They didn’t really do a lot. Maybe hiking, spending time with their kids.”
They lived in a house in Willard with Tollison’s mother. They took care of her, Groves said.
In addition, they worked on the farms of both sets of grandparents, but mostly Tollison’s grandparents, she said.
“They would go out there and help them with everything,” she said. “They would take care of the farms; they would do brush hogging.”