Sunday, September 9, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CDT
COLUMBIA — A 2008 lawsuit alleging negligence by Ameren Missouri in a natural gas explosion that killed an elderly couple appears likely to go to trial this week.
The trial in the Sneed lawsuit is set to begin Tuesday with jury selection.
Carl and Merna Sneed, who lived at 308 McNab Drive in the East Campus neighborhood, both died as the result of injuries from the March 14, 2008 blast that could be felt miles away. The fire from the blast damaged the side of a home across the street. 
Carl Sneed, 87, died from burns inside the home. Merna Sneed, 85, was thrown from the home and suffered burns on more than 30 percent of her body. She died three weeks later at University Hospital.
The daughters of Carl and Merna Sneed — Patricia K. Sneed, Pamela R. Heath and Terry L. Sneed — filed the lawsuit in June 2008. Patricia Sneed and Pamela Health, who live in California, and Terry Sneed, who lives in Columbia, are being represented in the suit by Neil Johnson of Berkowitz Oliver of Kansas City.
Ameren Missouri is being represented by Gerald King of Armstrong Teasdale LLP, also of Kansas City.
Several of the Sneeds’ neighbors could be called as witnesses in addition to experts in natural gas procedures. Among the potential witnesses are Daryl Keller, who lived in the house that was damaged in the blast across the street from the Sneeds; Fred Luetkemeier, supervisor of Ameren’s gas operations in Columbia; and Bob Leonberger, supervisor of engineering and safety in the energy unit of the Missouri Public Service Commission.
Similar lawsuits have been filed in the past few years alleging [...]