A Shawnee man charged in the traffic death of a pregnant woman in Overland Park made his first court appearance Tuesday.
Raphael E. Sherman, 21, is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death Sunday night of 25-year-old Denise Lopez.
Lopez, who was 39 weeks pregnant, was taken to a hospital, where doctors delivered her baby before she died.
The wreck occurred at 75th Street and Metcalf Avenue when Sherman allegedly ran a red light after a Prairie Village police officer tried to pull him over for a traffic offense, according to the allegations.
Only five seconds elapsed between the time Sherman allegedly accelerated away from the officer and the crash, Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe said.
Howe said too many people facing only minor trouble like a traffic ticket choose to flee from police and end up hurting or killing innocent people.
But the criminal penalties for such unintentional deaths are not very severe, and that is hard for families to take after they have lost a loved one.
“They have every right to be angry,” Howe said.
Under Kansas law, the crimes Sherman is charged with carry a sentence ranging from about three to 11 years, depending on the defendant’s criminal record. A check of area courts turned up no prior convictions for Sherman.
Sherman also is charged with two counts of aggravated battery for injuring two other people in the crash.
Members of his family attended Tuesday’s court appearance but declined to comment.
His bond is set at $250,000.