Crime

Suspect in Johnson County deputy’s death may be in U.S. illegally, had prior DUI

Man accused of driving drunk, killing a sheriff’s deputy appears in court

Last fall, Adrian Espinosa-Flores appeared through closed circuit hookup from the Johnson County Detention Center and answered the judge’s questions through an interpreter. He was not required to enter a plea because he was not being arraigned at
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Last fall, Adrian Espinosa-Flores appeared through closed circuit hookup from the Johnson County Detention Center and answered the judge’s questions through an interpreter. He was not required to enter a plea because he was not being arraigned at

The man accused of driving drunk and killing a Johnson County sheriff’s deputy had at least one prior DUI conviction and may be in the country illegally.

Federal immigration officials have placed a “detainer” on Adrian Espinosa-Flores, who is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of Master Deputy Brandon Collins.

Collins was conducting a traffic stop early Sunday morning when a pickup truck slammed into the back of his patrol vehicle on U.S. 69 near 143rd Street.

Espinosa-Flores, 38, allegedly ran from the wreck, but was arrested nearby. In addition to the manslaughter charge he is charged with fleeing the scene of an injury accident.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said that their records do not indicate any prior immigration-related encounters with Espinosa-Flores.

An initial records check shows that he had a prior conviction for DUI in California in 2001, and was arrested on a traffic matter in Overland Park in 2013.

In June of that year, Espinosa-Flores was cited for driving without a license in Overland Park. He was found guilty and paid a fine of $121, according to court records.

But ICE said it was not notified after either of the 2001 or 2013 police encounters.

The agency placed its detainer on him Monday, after the fatal crash.

He is now considered an ICE “enforcement priority” based on the previous DUI conviction, according to the agency.

Although ICE does not comment on an individual’s migration status, the agency does not place detainers on individuals unless they are suspected of committing some type of immigration violation.

The detainer is a written request from the agency to local law enforcement agencies asking that a person be detained for possible deportation proceedings.

Espinosa-Flores is now being held in the Johnson County Detention Center on a bond of $2 million.

A Johnson County District Court judge on Tuesday afternoon appointed a public defender to represent Espinosa-Flores and set Sept. 22 for the next court appearance.

Espinosa-Flores appeared in court through closed circuit hookup from the jail and answered the judge’s questions through an interpreter. He was not required to enter a plea at Tuesday’s first appearance.

The court appearance comes as the family prepares to bury the 44-year-old husband and father.

His family released a statement through the sheriff’s office: “We would like to express our sincere gratitude for the outpouring of support and the many heartfelt thoughts and prayers our family has received since our tragic loss. Brandon was a devoted and caring husband, father, son, brother, uncle and friend. Brandon’s love and compassion for his family, friends, and the community he served will never be forgotten.”

The funeral service for Collins is scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday at the College Church of the Nazarene in Olathe. Visitation will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the church.

The burial will be in Oilton, Okla.

A memorial fund to help the deputy’s family has been set up at any Mainstreet Credit Union location. Donations can be made to the Deputy Brandon Collins Memorial Fund.

Rep. Kevin Yoder spoke of Collins on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday.

Yoder said Collins’ death was a “devastating reminder” of the risks that first responders take every day.

“He leaves behind his wife and two daughters, who are suffering unimaginable loss,” Yoder said. “Deputy Collins was only 44 years old and was just about to celebrate his 21st year with his department serving our community.”

Overland Park police investigated the scene Sunday where a Johnson County Sheriff’s Master Deputy Brandon Collins was killed on U.S. 69 near West 143rd Street. Johnson County Sheriff Frank Denning commented about Collins.

Tony Rizzo: 816-234-4435, @trizzkc

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