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Archive for Saturday, July 7, 2007

State to review vehicular homicide law

February fatality involving Tonganoxie teen spurs evaluation of statutes

July 7, 2007

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— Legislative leaders on Friday ordered a review of the state's vehicular homicide law in response to a February traffic accident that killed a 19-year-old Tonganoxie woman.

"I feel there are some real holes in the Kansas vehicular homicide statutes," said state Sen. Roger Pine, R-Lawrence.

"Given the complexity of the subject, I think it is very important to fully evaluate the topic in an interim committee," he said. "I expect compelling testimony that could eventually give district and county attorneys more discretion for filing charges in similar cases."

Pine requested the study in response to the Feb. 14 accident on Highway 24-40 in Basehor.

In that incident, a vehicle driven by Ricardo De-Leon Flores of Lansing struck the vehicle of Amanda Bixby, killing her, authorities said. Bixby was driving home from Nebraska Furniture Mart, where she worked.

Officials said Flores was initially charged with vehicular homicide, but later the Leavenworth County attorney dropped the charge, citing a Kansas Supreme Court ruling that held that the mere fact that the driver ran a red light or a stop sign didn't satisfy the legal requirements for a vehicular homicide charge. Flores has since pleaded not guilty to several other traffic violations in connection with the accident.

Bixby's parents and several prosecutors have expressed support for reviewing the vehicular homicide law.

The Legislative Coordinating Council assigned the review to an interim judiciary committee, which will make recommendations to the full House and Senate when lawmakers start the 2008 legislative session in January.

The committee will review whether prosecutors should have more discretion in filing vehicular homicide charges, and whether drug testing should be required in all vehicular homicide cases. The committee also will consider whether penalties should be increased for the charge.

Under current law, vehicular homicide is a Class A misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a $2,500 fine.

Comments

ASBESTOS 7 years, 5 months ago

DO NOT forget that Ricardo De-Leon Flores is an illegal alien that whould have NEVER BEEN in the United States! He gets deported now, and I hape they still know where he lives, and have kept track of this criminal.

He had no license to drive and has no DRIVERS TRAINING to get the license.

Wasn't this man drunk at the time? That would be Vehicular Manslaughter, and this Judge needs his head examined!

Staci Dark Simpson 7 years, 5 months ago

I agree time to review these laws. I would say with all the others laws he disobeyed he was definitely negligent. He'll get deported and get out of it and probably sneak back in a few months later. He shouldn't have been here in the first place. He probably didn't have insurance since he had no DL.

hipper_than_hip 7 years, 5 months ago

Can you please link to the info about his citizenship, drivers license, and sobriety?

Jamesaust 7 years, 5 months ago

""Given the complexity of the subject....[said Pine]."

There's nothing complex about the subject. The law has had to distinguish between gross negligence and ordinary negligence since the laws were first written. While the weighing of facts case-by-case can be complicated, the concept that these two different poles create different liabilities in something Kindergartners can tell apart.

Gross negligence is rare, easily prevented, and is so punished severely (vehicular homicide, a felony). Ordinary negligence is everyday, almost impossible to squash, and is so punished administratively (fines, license revocations).

Running a stop sign (here) or stop light (the guiding case alluded to) are everyday occurrences. At the exact moment this sentence is read, someone is running a stop light in Lawrence - guaranteed. And its a rare person who will even try to claim that they have never - ever! - deviated from the traffic ordinances.

What's more, the particular intersection in question is infamously dangerous and indeed additional action has been taken to alert drivers even more that there is a stop ahead. I'm particularly disappointed in Sen. Pine does not have the spine to resist (understandable) pressure to turn a rare tragedy that ANYONE could have committed into a 'hang 'em higher' criminal matter.

Staci Dark Simpson 7 years, 5 months ago

He had to be going a high rate of speed to demolish her car like that. Had no ID, obviously not an AMerican citizen since he was removed from court by immigration officers. I will look for the link. As for being drunk, I haven't heard that. Just that he blew thru the intersection like no tomorrow and annihilated Amanda and her car and another carload of people. He is lucky he didn't kill more people. Once again I am not against immigrants coming here LEGALLY. Get your ID, get a license, get insurance, learn the laws. He was negligent he didn't stop, that sign is easy to see, I used to live on that road.

loboda 7 years, 5 months ago

I really hope the laws get changed. My sister-in-law was killed senselessly, also on 24-40 highway, just south of Tonganoxie two years ago this August. Even though the person who hit and killed her was a minor, she should have been punished somehow. A slap on the hand and an "I'm sorry" just doesn't cut it. Two or three other people were also injured because of this minor's negligence and inexperience behind the wheel of a vehicle. There is another law that needs to be changed, the age that someone should be allowed to operate a motor vehicle. But that is another story of it's own.

jonas 7 years, 5 months ago

I hope you realize that all those changes will probably not result in any significant changes in road tragedies. People will still die in collisions.

I would also bet, for most any minor, that the knowledge of killing someone is a little more devastating and haunting than a little jail time is going to be. But, feel free to crave your vengeance. I simply hope the state doesn't give in to it.

dbixby61 7 years, 5 months ago

I am Amanda's dad. Please let me clear up a few things. Ricardo Flores was and is an illegal alien living in Lansing, KS the past 4 years. He had worked for Hikock-Dible Developers in Kansas City. I found his pay stub at the crash scene. He was arrested by I.C.E. agents following his entering a not guilty plea in Leavenworth Co. Ricardo was traveling at least 65 mph in a 40 mph zone. He hit a Doge Durango before hitting and killing Amanda. Amanda was traveling in what used to be a Ford Taurus. It was nearly cut in half. Kaitlyn Witt (17) was traveling in the Dodge Durango and nearly lost her foot. She is a beautiful girl who HAD a bright future in track and field. Ricardo was not drunk but no drug test was performed on him.

Ricardo still faces an Aug. 22 court date in Leavenworth Co.

Amanda's Dad

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