Archive for Thursday, September 20, 2007

Judge orders fine in fatality crash

September 20, 2007

Ricardo D. Flores, the 21-year-old Lansing man involved in an accident in Basehor that killed a Tonganoxie teen and injured others, will pay roughly $228 in fines and court fees and will be on probation for six months, a Leavenworth County District Court judge ruled Wednesday.

Judge Gunnar Sundby listened to comments Wednesday in Leavenworth from Dennis Bixby, the father of Amanda Bixby. Amanda was 19 when she was killed in the three-vehicle accident Feb. 14 at 158th Street and U.S. Highway 24-40 in Basehor.

Sundby also heard from Curtis Witt, whose daughter, Shelby, was in the Dodge Durango that Flores' Toyota 4Runner initially hit before striking Amanda Bixby's Ford Taurus.

Flores missed the stop sign at 158th Street and headed north across U.S. 24-40, according to sheriff's reports.

At an Aug. 22 hearing, Flores pleaded no contest to failure to yield at a stop sign, speeding and driving without a driver's license.

On Wednesday, he spoke for the first time in court, using his lawyer as his interpreter.

"I am very sorry for what happened," Flores said through his lawyer.

He went on to reiterate his apology.

"This affects my family and their family," Flores said. "And I'm very sorry."

Outside the courtroom, Bixby said he was disappointed in the sentence.

"I feel the lack of punishment by this judge has given me more fuel to go to the Legislature," Bixby said.

State Rep. Kenny Wilk, R-Lansing, and Sen. Roger Pine, R-Lawrence, have been working on improving vehicular homicide laws in Topeka.

Flores originally was arrested for vehicular homicide, but Leavenworth County Attorney Frank Kohl didn't pursue a charge because of a 2002 Kansas Supreme Court Ruling. The court ruled that the mere fact that a driver ran a red light or stop sign did not satisfy the legal elements required for a vehicular homicide conviction.


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