Criminal charges will not be filed against a motorist who was distracted by electronics when he struck and killed a Douglas County sheriff's lieutenant who was riding his bicycle, District Attorney Charles Branson announced Friday afternoon.
Lt. David Dillon, of Eudora, a deputy for the jail operations division of the sheriff's office, died in the June 28 accident. Dillon, 44, was off-duty and riding his bike between Lawrence and Eudora when he was struck from behind by a 2003 Oldsmobile driven by Kyle Van Meter, 21, the Kansas Highway Patrol said.
The accident, which occurred just before 8 a.m., caused the right front tire of the car to be flattened from impact with the bicycle, a highway patrol report said.
"Van Meter admitted to being distracted by his radio and told authorities he did not see Dillon until he hit him," Branson said in a news release.
A highway patrol report said Van Meter, of Eudora, also was distracted by a cell phone during the accident, which occurred in the 1900 section of North 1400 Road, just one mile west of Eudora on a road commonly referred to as Old K-10. The report indicated inattention and failure to yield the right of way were contributing circumstances in the wreck.
Branson said his office has returned the case to the highway patrol, suggesting the state agency issue citations for unsafe overtaking/passing, following too closely and failure to wear a seat belt. Branson said he met with Dillon's family this week to discuss the results of the investigation.
"If any good can come from the tragedy, we can only hope people will slow down and pay attention to their driving," he said.