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Archive for Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Driver in fatal chase now also faces drug charges

January 13, 2004

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The driver accused of killing a Lawrence woman during a high-speed police pursuit now faces drug charges on top of his second-degree murder charge.

Douglas County Dist. Atty. Christine Kenney's office Monday charged Nam Ouk Cho, 20, Lee's Summit, Mo., with possession of methamphetamine, a felony, and misdemeanor marijuana and drug paraphernalia possession.

The charges stem from a search of Cho's vehicle after it struck a car driven by 56-year-old motorist Judith Vellucci on Aug. 26, 2003, at 31st Street and Nieder Road. Vellucci was killed in the crash.

Prosecutors said the drug charges weren't filed earlier because they were awaiting laboratory test results.

Also Monday, District Court Judge Robert Fairchild ruled that Cho's statement to Lawrence Police detective M.T. Brown after the pursuit was voluntary and may be used in court.

Brown earlier testified Cho had told him he was driving recklessly because he thought police were following him from a Kansas City-area drug deal.

Cho's trial is planned for April 4.

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