About the time Tiffany Mogenson left a happy-birthday message on her father’s voice mail, Roy Lee Maney opened a bottle and started drinking.
Twenty-four hours later, on Oct. 11, 2013, their paths crossed in a shattering traffic collision. Mogenson died instantly. Maney tried to run away, but Prairie Village police chased him down and took him to jail.
On Wednesday, Maney stood in a Johnson County courtroom packed with members of his and Mogenson’s families, where a judge sentenced him to 15 years and eight months in prison for killing the 30-year-old dance studio owner and former Chiefs cheerleader.
Maney, 33, was driving an estimated 90 mph when his car crashed into the rear of Mogenson’s car stopped at a red light at 75th Street and Roe Avenue, according to previous court testimony.
Shortly before the crash, a Prairie Village police officer had tried to stop Maney for speeding, but he had stopped chasing when Maney’s car accelerated away from him.
Defense attorney Mark Dupree said that Maney, depressed over a pending divorce, was on a 24-hour drinking binge when he got behind the wheel of his car that day.
“If there is anything to learn from this,” Dupree said Wednesday, “no matter what your problem is, seek help with counseling, seek help from Christ, but for Christ’s sake, don’t seek help from drinking.”
In a barely audible voice, Maney read a statement Wednesday in which he apologized and said that “there is no way I can understand the pain and grief” felt by Mogenson’s family.
He was sentenced in Johnson County District Court, where he pleaded guilty in February to reckless second-degree murder and leaving the scene of an injury accident.
District Judge Brenda Cameron followed plea negotiations and imposed maximum, consecutive sentences of 154 months and 34 months for the two charges.
Members of Mogenson’s family had asked Cameron to reject the plea agreement, but the judge said Wednesday she did not have the legal authority to do that.
At Maney’s plea hearing in February, the family asked her to reject the deal and try Maney on an alternative charge of first-degree felony murder and other lesser charges that were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.
But on Wednesday, family members focused their comments in court on describing the kind of person Mogenson was and the impact her death had on countless people, including hundreds of her dance students and their families.
Her sister, Stacey Chaloux, talked about the agonizing task of explaining to her 8-year-old daughter that her Aunt Tiffany, the little girl’s “best friend in the world,” was gone.
“She was robbed of a care-free childhood way too soon,” Chaloux said.
Randy Long talked about the last time he ever heard his daughter’s voice on the birthday message she left for him the day before she was killed.
Mike Mogenson described how he went to the crash scene that day and helped pull his wife’s body from her mangled car.
“I was there, and I didn’t see him,” Mogenson said of Maney, whom he called gutless and a coward. “He chose to tuck tail and run to avoid responsibility.”
Mike Mogenson said his wife lived her life with “strength, honor and love.”
“I’m trying real hard to live up to that legacy,” he said.