Salvador Venegas Jr., 29, of Arkansas City, has been charged with second-degree murder following an accident that left him severely injured and killed Garrett Misora last November.
Misora was a Cowley College student from Winfield who will be remembered with an honorary degree from the college.
Venegas, who is confined largely to a wheelchair and attends physical therapy as a result of his injuries, was not taken into custody.
He has been ordered by Cowley County District Court to report to court services twice a week.
He also must submit to drug and alcohol testing as requested by his court services officer.
Attorney David Maslen was appointed to represent Venegas during his first appearance in court last week.
Venegas is scheduled to appear in court again at 3 p.m. May 1.
Charges against Venegas
The criminal complaint filed against Venegas lists five charges.
The first is murder in the second degree, which claims he “unlawful and feloniously kill(ed) another human being,” according to the complaint.
It also states the “killing was done unintentionally but recklessly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life.”
If found guilty of this count, Venegas could serve a minimum of 109 months (nine years and eight months) to a maximum of 493 months (41 years and eight months) in prison, a post-release supervision term of three years and a fine of up to $300,000.
The second count is driving under the influence of alcohol (second offense).
If found guilty, Venegas faces not less than 90 days nor more than one year in the Cowley County Jail and a fine of between $1,250 to $1,750.
The third count listed on the criminal complaint is transporting liquor in an open container.
If Venegas is found guilty of this charge, he could serve one month in the county jail and pay a fine of $500.
The last two counts on the complaint both are traffic violations, neither of which would incur jail time.
One is failure to obey a traffic control device and the other is improper crossover on a divided highway.
History of accident
Last November, a two-vehicle, fatality accident in the 22000 block of U.S. 77, near Strother Field, was called in to dispatch.
One accident victim, Misora, was dead, and the second victim, Venegas, critically injured and pinned in a vehicle when emergency services arrived.
The initial call dispatched the Arkansas City Fire-EMS Department (ACFD) to respond to the scene of the accident — only those units were sent to the 32000 block of U.S. 77, more than 10 miles south of where the accident occurred.
An incident report filed by ACFD Capt. Ken Corcran stated the initial call from CCEC was received at 10:19 p.m. and acknowledged by ACFD at 10:21.
ACFD advised that all units were en route at 10:20. Corcran’s report states dispatchers “(did) not acknowledge until approximately two minutes later.”
Meanwhile, as the Arkansas City fire engines headed south, ACFD volunteer firefighter-EMT Mike Evinger — who works at nearby General Electric — was the first Arkansas City responder to arrive at the accident scene. A report Evinger filed put him on scene at 10:25.
He was met at the scene by a Cowley County sheriff’s deputy who had begun first aid measures on Venegas.
Evinger’s report indicated he immediately began to assess a patient who was in the passenger seat of one of the vehicles.
Misora was dead when Evinger arrived at the scene.