Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Court Vacates Probation Sentence in DUI Deaths

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Court Vacates Probation Sentence in DUI Deaths

Article excerpt

The Kansas Court of Appeals has ordered a Riley County District Court to resentence a former Kansas State University student who was placed on probation and house arrest after he was involved in a driving-while-intoxicated, wrong-way accident that took the lives of two people and seriously injured several passengers in his vehicle.

The appellate court on Friday overturned the lighter sentence imposed on Miles E. Theurer, a Wellington man who was 23 on May 14, 2012, when he drove in the wrong lane through a construction zone along K-18 Highway while returning to Manhattan after a night of drinking in at a Junction City strip club.

Theurer's eastbound Silverado pickup truck struck a westbound car about 2:45 a.m., killing occupants Elizabeth Young, a 31-year-old mother of two, and Michael Stanley, a 30-year-old father of two. Theurer and two passengers in his truck were severely injured.

Court records show Theurer and several friends had been at the Mustang Gentleman's Club celebrating on the night after Theurer received his bachelor of science degree in agriculture at K-State, where he was reported to be an exemplary student. Blood drawn several hours after the accident showed his blood-alcohol level at .19, more than twice the legal limit.

Theurer pleaded no contest in May 2013 to two counts of involuntary manslaughter. As part of a plea agreement, Riley County prosecutors agreed to dismiss two charges of aggravated battery and not file additional charges. They recommended the two presumptive sentences under Kansas guidelines to run concurrently, and that Theurer spend 41 months in prison.

Before his sentencing hearing, Theurer cited 17 mitigating circumstances as compelling reasons to support his motion for a downward departure from a prison sentence.

In addition to hearing victim impact statements from the devastated families of Young and Stanley, Riley County District Court Judge John Bosch also considered about 100 character reference statements submitted on Theurer's behalf by K-State teachers, administrators, fellow students and family members. …

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