KC man charged in April hit-and-run crash that killed motorcyclist

07/15/2013 3:34 PM

07/15/2013 3:34 PM

Authorities on Monday filed charges in an April hit-and-run incident that killed a Belton motorcyclist.

Ronald J. O’Kelly, 24, of south Kansas City, has been charged with one count of first degree involuntary manslaughter. Prosecutors allege that O’Kelly was operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, and also are charging him with one count of leaving the scene of an accident.

The incident killed Leroy Bronson, 57.

According to court records:

Kansas City police officers dispatched just after midnight April 7 to the intersection of Bannister and Wornall roads in south Kansas City discovered a crashed Harley-Davidson motorcycle near its rider, Bronson, soon pronounced dead at the scene.

The officers also discovered, about 500 feet west from the crash location, an abandoned Ford 150 truck that displayed its own accident damage.

Investigators contend that the Ford truck, traveling west on Bannister Road, failed to stop at a red traffic light and struck the motorcyclist, who had been traveling south on Wornall Road.

The truck’s license plates led investigators to O’Kelly, whom witnesses said had appeared intoxicated while drinking at a tavern late on April 6 before leaving. Witnesses also provided investigators with O’Kelly’s cell phone number.

Cell phone records, investigators allege, indicated that O’Kelly had been talking to a friend on his cell phone at the time of the crash.

That friend declined to give police a statement. But the friend’s father told investigators that that his daughter had discovered O’Kelly on the steps of her apartment near 101st Street and Wornall Road when she got home from work early on April 7. She then ghen gave him a ride home.

On April 8, O’Kelly reported to a police facility accompanied by a lawyer. O’Kelly displayed multiple scratch marks on his face, arms, hands and face, according to police officers who arrested him.

Witnesses near the scene of the crash sight, meanwhile, had reported hearing sounds in the wooded area north of the area where the Ford truck had been found.

In an unrelated incident almost two years earlier, Bronson’s wife and 11-year-old daughter had died when a driver, whom authorities alleged was intoxicated, crashed into their car while driving the wrong way on Interstate 435 near 63rd Street on July 4, 2011.

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