Murder charge filed in wreck that followed short Raytown police chase

Jackson County prosecutors on Monday accused a Kansas City man of murder in connection with a Sunday wreck that killed a woman and an injured a toddler shortly after a police chase began.

Both the woman and the 1-year-old child were ejected from the vehicle that overturned while fleeing a Raytown police officer. The officer had stopped pursuit blocks earlier.

Witnesses told authorities that the child was in the middle of the road crying after the accident, said Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker.

Anthony C. Harris Jr., 31, allegedly was driving with a revoked license when the officer tried to stop him for speeding. Prosecutors charged Harris as a persistent offender because he was convicted of two felonies in 2008.

On Monday, authorities charged him with second-degree murder or, in the alternative, involuntary vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated for the death of his passenger, Latasha N. Green, 31, of Kansas City.

Baker said authorities think Harris and Green were in a relationship and that the child was theirs.

Harris also faces charges of driving with a revoked license, endangering the welfare of a child and resisting a stop by fleeing.

The incident began about 7:15 p.m. Sunday when a Raytown officer tried to stop Harris’ SUV near Blue Ridge Boulevard and James A. Reed Road. Harris allegedly fled, running red lights and nearly striking crossing traffic. The Raytown officer soon discontinued the pursuit.

While still heading north on James A. Reed Road, the SUV apparently crossed the center line and overturned. Police came upon the wreck near 75th Street, a few blocks from Harris’ home.

Kansas City police officers apprehended Harris, who tried to flee on foot. His blood-alcohol level tested at 0.184, more than twice the legal limit, shortly after the crash, according to court records.

Harris, who is being held without bond, was convicted in 2008 of drug trafficking and assault of a law enforcement officer.

Green died on the way to a hospital. The toddler suffered injuries that were not life-threatening.

“We’re incredibly lucky that this child is with his grandparents today,” Baker said. “That’s a good day in Jackson County.”

To reach Brian Burnes, call 816-234-4120 or send email to bburnes@kcstar.com.