A 23-year-old Kansas City man allegedly was driving over 80 mph seconds before a crashing into an SUV, sending it careening off the road where it struck and killed a pedestrian, according to court documents.
The Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office has charged David Medina-Ramirez with one count each of first-degree involuntary manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in a death, both felonies, according to court documents.
Taahir S. Whaley, 26, was pronounced dead at the hospital from injuries suffered in the crash.
Officers responded to the crash about 12:30 p.m. on Nov. 26 at Independence and Spruce avenues.
According to court documents, arriving officers determined that a silver 2005 Chevrolet Malibu was headed east on Independence when it collided with a maroon 2019 GMC Terrain. The force of the impact sent the small SUV off the road where it struck Whaley.
Both Whaley and the driver of the SUV were taken to a hospital. Whaley was pronounced dead. The driver of the SUV was treated and released.
The driver of the Malibu fled prior to police arriving.
Crash investigators determined that the Malibu was in the right lane of eastbound Independence and was traveling at high speeds as it approached Spruce. The SUV was westbound on Independence and attempted to south onto Spruce.
The Malibu crashed into the passenger side of the SUV, causing it to spin toward the sidewalk, where it struck the a utility pole and and Whaley. The SUV continued to partially rotate before coming to rest in the eastbound lanes of travel.
After obtaining a search warrant, investigators examined the two vehicles and retrieved information that showed that five seconds prior to the crash, the Malibu was traveling 79 mph. Three seconds prior to the crash, the Malibu was traveling 82 mph. A second before the crash, the car was going 67 mph. The driver, who was not wearing a seat belt, didn’t attempt any evasive actions, according to court documents.
Meanwhile, information showed the SUV was traveling 19 mph five seconds before the crash. At or near impact, the SUV was going 12 mph, according to court documents.
An anonymous tip led detectives to a home near Linwood Boulevard and Brooklyn Avenue where Medina-Ramirez was staying with his brother, who agreed to give detectives permission to enter the home.
There, detectives found Medina-Ramirez, who agreed to provide a statement.
Medina-Ramirez allegedly said the vehicle had been stolen from a 7-Eleven at Independence and Benton Boulevard. He said he didn’t know about the crash. He was shown a photo of himself at the 7-Eleven wearing a hat, which he confirmed was him.
After being told he was being booked for vehicle homicide, Medina-Ramirez allegedly told detectives that he was driving on Independence when a car turned in front of him. Because of the slick roads caused by a recent snow, he said was unable to stop and crashed into the side of the vehicle, according to court documents.
He allegedly told detectives that he fled because he was scared and didn’t know what to do. After being asked how fast he was driving, he told detectives that he usually drives 35 mph, but didn’t know how fast he was going at the time of the crash.
Video from city surveillance cameras as well as security footage from the 7-Eleven allegedly shows Medina-Ramirez get into the driver’s seat of the Malibu and exit the parking lot headed east on Independence. Surveillance cameras allegedly show the Malibu traveling at high speeds, overtaking other vehicles prior to the crash.