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Archive for Friday, April 7, 2006

Prosecutors say suspect in fatality might have been racing illegally

April 7, 2006

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— The Kansas Highway Patrol was investigating the possibility that organized illegal street racing might have contributed to an accident that killed a former football coach.

Raul R. Cabrera, who authorities said was an illegal immigrant, was charged Tuesday in the juvenile division of Wyandotte County District Court with one count of involuntary manslaughter in the death of former Olathe North High School coach David Bassore.

A judge ordered Cabrera, 16, held as a flight risk after prosecutors argued he was not enrolled in school and was in the country illegally. Cabrera's attorney, Patricia Aylward Kalb, said the teen pleaded not guilty.

Bassore, who was a coach at William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo., before his tenure in Olathe, died Monday in the crash on Interstate 35.

Wyandotte County Dist. Atty. Jerome Gorman said the Highway Patrol was investigating whether Cabrera was part of a group that races souped-up cars on streets and highways. Depending on the outcome of the investigation, Gorman said, Cabrera could be tried as an adult or charged with second-degree murder.

Prosecutors allege Cabrera's Dodge Neon clipped Bassore's pickup, causing the truck to hit the median divider and roll over in a ditch.

Authorities said a preliminary investigation indicated Cabrera was racing with another car. Its driver was questioned by the Highway Patrol but not arrested.

"As soon as we get all the information, we expect to find the driving very erratic and at a very high speed," Gorman said. "That is a lot different than just running a red light, especially on I-35 at that time of day. ... We hope to be able to have the evidence by the time we go to trial that it was much worse than just plain negligence."

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