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Car fleeing KCK police hits vehicle, killing mother of KCTV5 reporter

Updated: 2014-02-19T00:54:45Z

By TONY RIZZO and ROBERT A. CRONKLEON

The Kansas City Star

A 62-year-old Kansas City, Kan., woman died after her car was hit by a driver fleeing from police Monday night.

Graciela E. Olivas died after the 6:44 p.m. crash at Shawnee Drive and South 34th Street, according to the Kansas Highway Patrol. She was the mother of KCTV5 reporter Sandra Olivas.

“The family wishes to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers,” her family said in a statement released by KCTV on Tuesday. “Graciela was a beloved wife, mother and grandmother. She was the center of our lives and words cannot express our immense grief and sadness. We ask that you respect our privacy at this time.”

The Kansas Highway Patrol is investigating. The 28-year-old suspect, who was being held Tuesday in the Wyandotte County Jail, was wanted on a warrant for failing to appear in court in January for sentencing in a drug case, according to court records.

Monday night’s incident began when an officer attempted to stop the driver of a 2000 Chevrolet Malibu for suspected drug activity. He sped away but only traveled a few blocks before allegedly running a red light and striking the driver’s side door of Olivas’ 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt, according to the Highway Patrol.

The force of the collision knocked her car into a ditch, the patrol said. She was wearing a seat belt.

The other driver attempted to flee on foot but was arrested by officers.

A spokesman for the Wyandotte County district attorney’s office said Tuesday that prosecutors have consulted with troopers but a case had not been submitted for possible charging.

The Kansas City, Kan., man jailed in the case had been released from prison in 2008 after serving time for cocaine possession, according to Kansas Department of Corrections records.

In Wyandotte County, he pleaded guilty last November to possession of methamphetamine. After he failed to show up for sentencing Jan. 10, a warrant was issued for his arrest, according to the records.

To reach Tony Rizzo, call 816-234-4435 or send email to trizzo@kcstar.com.

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