Mother pleased with drunken driving verdict

? JoAnn Ostendorf is breathing a little easier now that a Topeka man has been convicted of reckless second-degree murder in her son’s death last year.

“We’re very happy with the verdict,” Ostendorf, the mother of Lawrence paramedic Ryan Ostendorf, said Friday, a day after a Shawnee County jury took about two hours of deliberations to find Victor Anzua-Torres, 28, guilty. He also was found guilty of reckless aggravated battery with bodily harm and driving on the left side of road.

Earlier in the week he pleaded guilty to additional charges of driving under the influence of alcohol and not having a driver’s license. His blood alcohol level was 0.26 percent, more than three times the legal limit of .08, according to the Kansas Highway Patrol.

Ryan Ostendorf was killed the night of Dec. 5, 2005, in a head-on collision with a vehicle driven by Anzua-Torres on U.S. Highway 40 near Shawnee Heights Road. Ryan Ostendorf was a Kansas University student who worked for American Medical Response, a Shawnee County ambulance service.

He was driving to work when the accident occurred. AMR responded to the scene and one of the crewmen was his roommate.

“Although all such circumstances are terribly tragic and wasteful in any case, this case became more so when the victim’s co-workers at AMR were dispatched to the scene to render assistance only to discover the victim was a friend and fellow worker,” said a statement issued by Shawnee County Dist. Atty. Robert D. Hecht.

JoAnn Ostendorf, of Gothenburg, Neb., said the only concern she had about the trial was that the jury might return a guilty verdict of reckless involuntary manslaughter or vehicular homicide, lesser charges than second-degree murder.

Ryan Ostendorf, 28, was a senior who wanted to go on to medical school after the May graduation.

Anzua-Torres will be sentenced June 29. The DUI conviction was his second.