Criminal charges haven't been considered against drivers involved in two fatal accidents this summer in Douglas County because law enforcement agencies haven't formally submitted the cases to prosecutors for review, Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson said.
Branson said his office is waiting for complete paperwork in the June 28 wreck that caused the death of a sheriff's deputy who was riding his bicycle near Eudora and the July 15 death of a motorcyclist who collided with a semitruck at the intersection of Clinton Parkway and Iowa Street.
"It is the responsibility of the law enforcement agency to either submit the full case to our office : or set a meeting with our office to review a case that may be questionable," Branson said.
In the first crash, a Kansas Highway Patrol report said 20-year-old Kyle William Van Meter was distracted by a cell phone and other electronic devices, when the car he was driving struck and killed Douglas County sheriff's Lt. David K. Dillon, 44, who was riding his bicycle in the 1900 block of North 1400 Road.
The semitruck driver involved in the fatal motorcycle crash, Daniel L. Arnold, 52, of Texas, made an improper left turn, failed to yield the right of way, and disregarded traffic signs, signals or markings, according to a Lawrence Police accident report. Douglas Puckett, 43, of Portage, Ind., was killed.
"Neither of these cases have been formally submitted to our office," Branson said. "There is no action for us to take until they have been.
The fatal bicycle accident, which happened in the jurisdiction of the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, was worked by the KHP since it involved the death of a sheriff's deputy. Capt. Steve Zeller, commander for the KHP troop which investigated the accident, said the accident report had been submitted to Branson's office, but the Douglas County Sheriff's Office was acting as the liaison in the case. Sheriff's spokeswoman Lt. Kari Wempe said her agency has prepared reports for the DA, but was waiting on the driver's toxicology reports from the state. Calls to the sheriff's office about where the toxicology testing was being conducted weren't returned late Thursday.
In the fatal motorcycle accident, Lawrence Police spokesman Sgt. Bill Cory said his agency's providing the reports to the DA's office for review.
"Sometimes these reviews take time," Cory said.