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A teenager has been charged in the fatal crash that killed a Kansas City police officer

A teenager has been charged in the fatal crash that killed a Kansas City police officer

A Tonganxie man faces charges for a crash that killed a Kansas City patrol officer, a pedestrian and the officer’s K-9 police dog Wednesday night.

Prosecutors filed two counts of manslaughter against Jeron Lightfoot, 18, for speeding and running a red light, which took the lives of a pedestrian, along with Officer James Muhlbauer and his police K-9 Champ. , Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said in a statement Friday.

The crash happened Wednesday at 10:15 p.m. near Truman Road and Benton Boulevard when the officer’s patrol car collided with another vehicle. The injuries resulted in a secondary collision with a pedestrian, said Sgt. Jake Becina, Kansas City Police department spokesperson

Kansas City police are investigating a crash involving a police car and another vehicle that happened Wednesday night near the intersection of Truman Road and Benton Boulevard. A pedestrian died at the scene, a police officer was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries and the other driver was detained as part of a police investigation.

According to court documents filed Thursday, officers responding to the crash found a man standing next to a white Ford Fusion, the wrecked vehicle. The man, identified as Lightfoot, was the driver and sole occupant of the Ford.

The other vehicle involved in the crash was Muhlbau’s marked police car, where the police officer was found unconscious in the driver’s seat. Authorities say he was wearing a seatbelt. His police K-9 Champ was found dead in the second row behind him. The officer was taken to an area hospital and later pronounced dead. Police found a second dead man, a man in his 50s, who has not been publicly identified, under the police car.

Court records say video of the crash shows the police officer traveling eastbound on Truman Road at the Benton intersection with a green light. The white Ford was seen traveling south on Benton Boulevard at a high rate of speed and authorities say it failed to stop at a red light just before hitting the police car. Prosecutors said the officer’s dash cam also showed he had a green light when he went through the intersection.

Authorities said tests of Ford’s electronic ACM system showed the car’s brakes were working before the crash and that the car was traveling 85 miles per hour or more just before impact.

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said her office has spoken with the officer’s family, and will meet with the pedestrian victim’s family soon, adding, “We extend our condolences to both the grieving family and the police department. We are grateful for the speed of investigative work of the police department which allowed us to file these charges so quickly.”

At a news conference Thursday, city officials expressed their grief over the tragedy, noting that both Muhlbauer and his K-9 Champ were serving the city when they died.

“The officers were serving and protecting this city,” Kansas City Police Chief Stacey Graves said. “They put themselves in harm’s way. They were civil servants required by the city. And in a moment we lost them. Our department is suffering. We are saddened and we tremble.”

Muhlbauer spent his career in the patrol department, including the past three years with the K-9 unit. He was married and a father.

“Please keep them in your prayers,” Graves said, noting a child had lost his “best friend.”

They said North Kansas City police officers took Champ to the hospital to be reunited with Muhlbauer.

“Both Officer Muhlbauer and Canine Champ were given a hero’s escort,” Graves said.

Peters Becker said his office worked closely with Muhlbauer On a quintuple murder. In 2014, he arrested Brandon Howell, who was later convicted of five counts of first-degree murder.

In a message posted on Twitter, Mayor Quinton Lucas said the city is mourning the loss of officers, bystanders and police dogs.

“This morning, our city mourns the loss of a twenty-year veteran of the Kansas City Police Department, an innocent civilian and a canine officer,” Lucas wrote. “My prayers go out to the families and friends of those I lost and to all the men and women in law enforcement.”

Outside KCPD headquarters, a patrol car is parked, flowers honoring the officers adorning its windshield.

There, KCPD invites citizens to pay their respects to Champ and Muhlbauer.



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