Man accused of killing man whose family died due to drunk driver - KCTV5 News

Man accused of driving drunk, killing man whose daughter, wife died due to drunk driver

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A Kansas City man was drunk and talking on his cell phone when he ran a red light and plowed into a motorcycle rider, killing him, according to Jackson County prosecutors.

The Jackson County Prosecutor's Office on Monday charged Ronald J. O'Kelly, 24, of Kansas City was charged with first-degree involuntary manslaughter and leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident.

After the crash, authorities on April 7 found the body of Leroy A. "Buddy" Bronson, 57, of Belton, at the intersection of Bannister and Wornall roads. Bronson lost his young daughter and wife in a wrong-way crash on the Fourth of July in 2011.

Near Bronson's body and his crashed Harley Davidson motorcycle was an abandoned Ford F-150, which has suffered damage consistent with the crash, according to court records. The pickup was registered to O'Kelly.

Accident reconstruction specialists determined that the Ford was driving 57 mph in a 40 mph zone when it went through the red light and plowed into Bronson, who had no time to react, according to court records.

Witnesses told police that O'Kelly had been at a tavern where he was drinking mixed drinks and beer, according to court records. Cell phone records showed that O'Kelly was talking to his girlfriend at the time of the crash, according to prosecutors. Cell phone records placed O'Kelly in the area of the crash when it occurred, according to court documents.

The girlfriend refused to give a statement to police, according to court records. Her father told police that she told him that O'Kelly was drunk and hit something in the road. The woman at the time had just moved into an apartment near the crash scene.

When the defendant responded to the police station with his attorney, he had multiple scratches on his face, arms, back and hands. Because more than 24 hours had passed since the crash, police did not seek his blood for analysis.

Detectives initially arrested O'Kelly when he and his attorney came to the police station April 8. Prosecutors didn't file charges then because the attorney refused to allow his client to speak to detectives and his girlfriend also declined to provide a statement, according to a spokesman for the prosecutor's office.

The prosecutor's office said gathering cell phone records, interviewing key witnesses, accident reconstruction and other investigative elements took additional time before the office felt comfortable filing charges, authorities said. That occurred Monday. Police had also sought a warrant June 5.

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