Archive for Thursday, September 20, 2007

Lansing man sentenced in Valentine’s Day fatality

September 20, 2007


Man involved in Valentine's Day accident out of court

A man involved in a Valentine's Day accident that killed Tonganoxie resident Amanda Bixby walks out of court this morning owing a $50 fine. Enlarge video

— A 21-year-old Lansing man was ordered Wednesday to pay $250 in fines and spend six months on probation for his role in an accident in February that killed a Tonganoxie teen.

Before sentencing Ricardo D. Flores, Leavenworth County District Judge Gunnar Sundby heard comments from Dennis Bixby, the father of Amanda Bixby, who died in the accident. Amanda was 19 when she was killed in a 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 a 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, with his attorney serving as his interpreter.

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

He went on to reiterate his apology.

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

Outside the courtroom, Dennis Bixby said he was disappointed in Flores' 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 to improve state laws regarding vehicular homicide.

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


Staci Dark Simpson 10 years, 9 months ago

that is ludicrous. How long before he kills the next person. What a slap in the face to Amanda's family

trinity 10 years, 9 months ago

i wholeheartedly agree, staci...this article just breaks my heart, i can only imagine how this young lady's family feels. ludicrous indeed! there should be SOMEthing done harsher than a fine!

cowboy 10 years, 9 months ago

you have got to be kidding me , people in lawrence get much more severe sanctions for a simple DUI or possession of pot ,

theeyeshaveit 10 years, 9 months ago

I don't know why I let it surprise me but the differences between this article and the one in the KC Star are mind boggling. LJW doesn't even mention the other people that were injured including the teen track runner with severe injuries to her left foot.

The article also fails to make it clear that it is the law that is the problem in this case. From the KC Star article: "Before sentencing Flores, Sundby all but apologized that he could not change the law himself. "The court determined that he was not criminally responsible for the death of Amanda," Sundby said. "I'm not a legislator. I cannot create new law, as remorseful as I am.""

coolmarv 10 years, 9 months ago

While this accident was tragic, has nobody ever ran a red light, stop sign or made some other traffic mistake that could have led to this? If not then good for you. Yes, it was not my daughter so I don't know what her family went through. I am sure the gentleman feels horrible but I don't see how he being given a harsh sentence would help anyone.

ksdivakat 10 years, 9 months ago

yeah, but dont you get caught with a joint! or they are gonna throw the book at you!!! How infuriating!!!! God bless the families and may they find peace with this in their own way.

Confrontation 10 years, 9 months ago

Mr_Ramirez: Don't you know that all illegal immigrants are just here doing a hard day's work? None of them are criminals. They're not killing Americans or finding other ways (such as car wrecks) to destroy lives.

domino 10 years, 9 months ago

My heart goes out to the family. Such an injustice is truly a sad thing. I tend to feel that judges are often given too much variance in how they can hand down a sentence. Know of a young man - 20-something - that got pulled over for not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign in a very small town. There was a pot pipe laying on the passenger seat (had fallen out of the pocket of a guy he knew that he had just given a ride to) and the cop saw it. Didn't want to get the other guy in trouble (which was dumb! Make him own up) and just went to court and pled guilty. Judge sentenced him to 10 days in county jail, 20 hours community service, 12 months probation, almost $500 in fines and manditory drug evaluation which cost him another $150. He served his jail time, did the community service, paid the fines and did the drug evaluation within the first 6 months. Drug evaluation came back that he was not "at risk" and recommended no further testing needed. He had been told by his probation officer that if he got it all done within 6 months, he would recommend to the judge that probation be dropped after the first 6 months. Judge denied the probation officers recommendation, made the young man complete additional drug awareness classes that cost him almost another $200 and left him on probation for the full 12 months. This young man had never been in any trouble with the law before. Don't suppose this had anything to do with the fact the young man's father was the trooper that 10 years prior had arrested the judge for DUI? Needless to say, the young man moved to another part of the state! Too many judges out there with too much unchecked power!

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