Murder charge is filed in fatal KCK traffic crash

A Kansas City, Kan., man was charged Friday with murder for allegedly fleeing from a police traffic stop and causing a collision that killed an 8-year-old girl.

Wyandotte County prosecutors charged 27-year-old Tyrone Murphy Jr. with felony first-degree murder in the Wednesday night death of Jasmine Rodriguez.

Murphy, who is being held in lieu of a $1 million bond, is charged with murder because the death occurred while he was committing the “inherently dangerous” felony of fleeing from a police officer, authorities said.

Prosecutors also charged Murphy with three counts of aggravated battery for injuring Jasmine’s mother and the girl’s sister and brother, who were also in the vehicle. Murphy was also charged with possession of cocaine.

Kansas City, Kan., police said an officer pulled Murphy over for a traffic violation at 63rd Street and Parallel Parkway about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. But Murphy sped away after a brief scuffle with the officer, police said.

The officer began to pursue, but almost immediately Murphy’s car allegedly ran a red light at 63rd Street and Leavenworth Road and plowed into a van driven by Jasmine’s mother.

The incident prompted Kansas City, Kan., police to announce on Thursday a review of the department’s vehicle pursuit policy. The department temporarily suspended pursuits that don’t involve suspects in serious felonies while the review is being conducted.

The family of a woman killed in a similar incident in February released a written statement Friday calling for the department to make permanent changes to its pursuit policy.

Graciela Olivas was killed in a crash involving another driver fleeing from a police traffic stop Feb. 17.

“In both cases, innocent lives were needlessly endangered and taken from us too soon,” the Olivas family said in its statement. “This cannot happen again.”