Archive for Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Driver avoids vehicular homicide charge

February 28, 2007

A Lansing man who authorities said ran a stop sign last week that resulted in the death of a Tonganoxie woman and injuries to a carload from Basehor won't face vehicular homicide charges.

And a Tonganoxie man whose daughter was killed in the Feb. 14 accident said the state law that's letting the driver go free is flawed.

The three-car accident claimed the life of 19-year-old Amanda Bixby, Tonganoxie, who was driving home from work in her Ford Taurus.

According to the Leavenworth County Sheriff's Office, as the two vehicles approached the intersection, Ricardo De-Leon Flores, 20, Lansing, the driver of a northbound Toyota 4Runner, failed to yield at the stop sign on 158th Street. His vehicle struck a Dodge Durango and then the Taurus.

Flores was cited at the scene for vehicular homicide, failure to yield and no driver's license.

But last week, Leavenworth County Attorney Frank Kohl said his office would not pursue vehicular homicide charges against Flores.

Kohl said a 2002 Kansas Supreme Court ruling in State of Kansas vs. Bala Krovvidi held that the mere fact that a driver ran a red light or a stop sign did not satisfy the legal elements required for a vehicular homicide conviction.

"Based upon current Kansas law, it requires more than simply running a stop sign to get a vehicular homicide conviction," Kohl said.

Dennis Bixby, whose daughter, Amanda, died in the Feb. 14 crash, said it's a travesty that Flores won't be charged with vehicular homicide.

"I'm working with (State Rep.) Kenny Wilk to get the law changed and also to make drug testing mandatory at a crash site where a person is killed or the officers suspect drugs or if a person is injured who requires transportation to a hospital," Bixby said.

Wilk said Tuesday he and Kohl were doing further research ahead of a legislative push to change the law.

"I've got to get into more research, but I'm going to wade into it full force," Wilk said.

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