Archive for Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Judge dismisses vehicular homicide charge in 2009 accident

A judge dropped charges Tuesday against a man accused of vehicular homicide in the death of a man in 2009. The judge ruled there was insufficient evidence to charge the man with the crime.

March 23, 2010


A Douglas County judge has dropped charges against a man accused of killing a man with his car.

Michael Peng, 23, was charged with vehicular homicide in the April 7 accident in the 200 block of Michigan.

Wally May, 80, was killed as he walked on the sidewalk about 7:40 a.m. at 255 N. Michigan.

Prosecutors said Peng failed to clear his windshield from a heavy frost and charged him with vehicular homicide. District Judge Sally Pokorny determined there wasn't enough evidence for a jury to consider the case.


Steve Jacob 8 years ago

I was right all along, that was the reason for the accident! I feel bed for Mr. Mays family, but this was not a "vehicular homicide" case. If the family wants to make this a civil case I can understand completely.

Stuart Evans 8 years ago

I agree. It's a terribly unfortunate accident. This guy does not belong in prison for it.

Stuart Evans 8 years ago

along with this and several other things that "idiots" are doing these days; perhaps we just need to have better education in common sense. I don't think that locking people up for every single issue is solving much of anything. do you?

been_there 8 years ago

Saw a young lady whizzing through the school zone at Prarie Park school Monday with several inches of snow covering her windows. Only about 1/3 of the front windshield was clear.

hooligan01 8 years ago

People turn their headlights on at night to drive so people should clear their windows of ice before they drive. In North Dakota its law you must have your windshield clear of ice and any other obstruction, I wish KS would do similar.

Dan Matthews 8 years ago

"...In North Dakota its law you must have your windshield clear of ice and any other obstruction, I wish KS would do similar."

That's just it, if we would only prosecute people with the laws we have (inattentive driving, etc.), we wouldn't NEED "special" laws...

parrothead8 8 years ago

So there wasn't enough evidence to prove that he failed to clear his windshield of heavy frost. Does he have another reason for driving his car onto a sidewalk and killing a pedestrian?

xyz 8 years ago

JW: Editors off today? Wally's last name was MAY, not Mays and you missed sidewaLk.

I agree with beobachter.

Russell Fryberger 8 years ago

Isn't there a law about how much visibility you should have when operating a vehicle? Proof would be the key issue of course.

Jonathan Kealing 8 years ago


Thanks for pointing that out.

Jonathan Kealing Online editor

Evan Ridenour 8 years ago

I run by that very spot every day (including the day he was hit and killed). It is nice knowing that if some idiot doesn't clear his windshield of an obstruction and hits me with his car killing me that it isn't homicide...


Patrick Rooney 8 years ago

so nice for the family that he is just a "every single issue" So what should be done with him? Its going to start going back to people taking the law into there own hands. Someone kills one of my kids walking on a sidewalk, if he law forgives him, I wont.

xyz 8 years ago

JW Jonathan, thank you for correcting Wally's name.

If the driver had taken the time to clear his windshield, than most likely this article would not have had to be written (or corrected).

Rest in peace, Wally and peace to your family.

feeble 8 years ago

Sounds like the local prosecutor is doing "a heckuva job". Way to go, Brownie.

Nonsense 8 years ago

"feeble (anonymous) says… Sounds like the local prosecutor is doing "a heckuva job". Way to go, Brownie. "

Really?! You can't read. The JUDGE DISMISSED... The Prosecutor filed the charge. Asked that if go to a jury. The JUDGE said NO.

denak 8 years ago

Considering that none of us saw the vehicle on the day in question, I don't think any of us can determine how much or how little Mr. Peng's windshield was cleared off. Unless the police officers who came to the scene took pictures of Mr. Peng's windshield, there is no way of knowing.

As for driving up on a sidewalk, that could have been caused by ice or it could have been caused by careless driving but careless driving does not necessarily meet the standard of "reckless."

It is unfortunate that someone died, and I am not making light of Mr. May's death, but just because someone dies, it does not mean that someone should automatically go to jail.

You have to look at the evidence and apparently the evidence was not there one way or the other.


lawthing 8 years ago

If we throw in jail.... all bad drivers all drivers that make mistakes

The roads would be a very empty place......

bearded_gnome 8 years ago

If we throw in jail.... all bad drivers all drivers that make mistakes

The roads would be a very empty place......

--- ... and just what would be the problem? people would realize that a higher standard of driving was expected of them!

nutbag leftists beefed about people dying in Iraq, but have said nothing about the massive number of highway traffic deaths in america that utterly and completely dwarfs the Iraqi deathtoll.

why can't we expect better driving? test seniors every year over 65 in physical exam.

when I walk, I never assume a driver can see me! never.

parrothead8 8 years ago

bearded_gnome (anonymous) says… "why can't we expect better driving? test seniors every year over 65 in physical exam." How would that have helped in this instance?

"when I walk, I never assume a driver can see me! never." If you are walking on the sidewalk, you really shouldn't have to worry about whether or not the driver can see you.

Glen Moore 8 years ago

There has been several vehicular related deaths these past 18 months. Most of them have been hit and run accidents. Im thinking its just not safe to drink and drive around here anymore!. Was walking out of Dillions early this morning and a little old lady maybe 80+ had to have help into her car. The store clerk that helped her off the electric cart drove it back into the store. She started her car and started backing out almost hitting my son and I, The front windshield of her car was completely fogged over and had a nice layer of frost on it add the fact she could barely see over the stearing wheel and Im amazed that she didn't make headlines for another accident.

somedude20 8 years ago

well if this chump has the skills to hit a person walking on the sidewalk then the bikers (including myself) had better watchout. With this guy driving on the roads, we all are fair game...zoinks!

maxcrabb 8 years ago

Why blame the driver for the courts' action? He stayed at the scene of the crime, was cooperative, and was prepared to take his punishment. The system let him go.

Jimo 8 years ago

Denak has it right. This article doesn't provide enough detail to allow much qualification on the judge's ruling. Carelessness would have to be quite extreme to graduate into a criminal action (if it was so then no one would dare drive at all).

I suspect that frost is cited in part because it can be documented while inattention, cell phone usage, sleepiness, minor excessive speed, etc. cannot (easily) be.

TheStig 8 years ago

21-3405. Vehicular homicide. Vehicular homicide is the unintentional killing of a human being committed by the operation of an automobile, airplane, motor boat or other motor vehicle in a manner which creates an unreasonable risk of injury to the person or property of another and which constitutes a material deviation from the standard of care which a reasonable person would observe under the same circumstances. Vehicular homicide is a class A person misdemeanor.

I think failing to clear your windshield creates a unreasonable risk of hitting people or property while driving and that a reasonable person under the same circumstances would make sure they could see before driving. Just old fashioned and I guess I have been wasting my time all these years. Well no longer will I need to take such silly percautions!

Tammy Copp-Barta 8 years ago

hooligan001 .. I did find a similar Kansas law .. located here:

8-1741. Windshields and windows; damaged windshields prohibited; obstruction or impairment prohibited; wipers. (a) No person shall drive any motor vehicle with any sign, poster or other nontransparent material upon the front windshield, side wings or side or rear windows of such vehicle which substantially obstructs, obscures or impairs the driver's clear view of the highway or any intersecting highway.

I also addresses the issue of having a device to clean the windows and that it must be in working order.

Stuart Evans 8 years ago

I see a lot of people going back to the sidewalk part of this story. it appears that this particular sidewalk was running through the middle of a driveway cut. it's not as if the driver jumped a curb and ran him down. I'm not here to bash the deceased, but I was always taught to look both ways when crossing a street. driveways and parking lot entrances are the same as a street. If anything, this kid should be sued in civil court. He does not belong in prison. In this land of the free, we are all too quick to lock people up for revenge.

Jimo 8 years ago

"I think failing to clear your windshield creates a [sic] unreasonable risk..."

I think talking on your cell phone creates an unreasonable risk.

I think texting creates an unreasonable risk.

I think fiddling with your radio creates an unreasonable risk.

I think screaming at your kids creates an unreasonable risk.

I think all forms of distraction create unreasonable risks.

I don't think any of the above are criminal acts.

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