Douglas County prosecutors have filed an involuntary manslaughter charge against a 23-year-old Overland Park man accused of killing a 19-year-old Lawrence woman in a 2010 drunken-driving crash.
According to a Lawrence police report, Sean Barrett Walker’s blood-alcohol content was 0.23, nearly three times the state’s legal limit, two hours after the crash early on Oct. 14, 2010, at the intersection of Clinton Parkway and Inverness Drive. Police have said Walker’s westbound vehicle struck a southbound car driven by Mary Grace Paez, a 2010 Lawrence High School graduate. Paez died at the scene.
District Attorney Charles Branson said Thursday his office had issued a warrant and charged Walker with involuntary manslaughter while driving under the influence of alcohol, plus two traffic infractions: speeding and violating flashing traffic signals. Walker is currently serving a prison sentence in Hutchinson for a probation violation on an unrelated 2006 Johnson County attempted robbery and battery case.
His earliest possible release date in that case is January, and Branson said the warrant means Walker would be transported to Douglas County upon release of his current prison sentence.
In the DUI involuntary manslaughter charge, prosecutors accuse Walker of unintentionally killing Paez while driving when his blood-alcohol content was higher than 0.08, the state’s legal limit to operate a vehicle.
The police report also lists Walker’s speeding as contributing to the crash. He was headed west on Clinton Parkway and entered the intersection on a flashing yellow light as Paez was headed south on Inverness Drive and came into the intersection after she had stopped at a flashing red light. The Jeep struck her Nissan car on the driver’s side. The law that covers flashing yellow lights says drivers may proceed through an intersection “only with caution.”
Walker was traveling at least 11 mph faster than the 45 mph speed limit on Clinton Parkway, and Paez was driving at 13 mph in the 30 mph zone, according to the accident report. Paez’s toxicology test in her autopsy was negative for alcohol or drugs. Walker, who police said was treated at the scene for a head injury, refused to submit to testing, so officers obtained a warrant for the blood test.
If convicted of involuntary manslaughter, Walker faces from 38 months to 14 years in prison. Earlier this month a judge approved a $100,000 settlement for Paez’s parents in a civil lawsuit against Walker. The settlement was reached with Walker’s insurance carrier.