Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Impact 'Deafening' in Fatal Wreck at S.W. 6th and Gage, Witness Testifies

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Impact 'Deafening' in Fatal Wreck at S.W. 6th and Gage, Witness Testifies

Article excerpt

David Alvarez and his family were en route to the zoo on Feb. 18 and had stopped at S.W. 6th and Gage when a speeding Chevrolet Impala ran a red light, crashing into a Toyota Camry.

The impact "was deafening," Alvarez said Friday in Shawnee County District Court. "I could feel the debris all over my vehicle."

Alvarez testified during the preliminary hearing of Marcos Adan Cruz Jr., 20, of Topeka. From the point of impact, the Camry was forced southwesterly into the fence of the Topeka Zoo black bear enclosure, Alvarez said.

Alvarez was about to get out of his car to give aid to wreck victims when he saw Kansas Highway Patrol troopers with guns drawn crossing in front of his vehicle. He stayed in his car. Cruz was bound over Friday for trial on charges of felony first-degree murder, fleeing police, aggravated battery and aggravated endangering a child younger than 18, all felonies.

District Judge David Debenham scheduled the Cruz jury trial to start on Jan. 9.

Cruz also will be tried on misdemeanor counts of reckless driving, required obedience to lawful police order, driving on suspended license, driving while an habitual violator, and failure to wear a seat belt and traffic infractions of speeding, unsafe turning, improper driving on a laned road, and two other infractions.

The passenger in the Toyota, Edward Greene, 69, of Tecumseh, was declared dead at the crash site. The Toyota driver, Jerry Griggs, 73, of Topeka, was injured.

A passenger in the Cruz car, Martay Cruz, then 8 months old, was examined at a hospital and released. Marcos Cruz was treated and released from a hospital. A second passenger in the Impala, Eric Keith Johnson, 21, of Topeka, had unknown injuries.

When Trooper Elijah Kennedy was unable to open two doors on the smoking Impala to rescue the child, Kennedy and a second trooper broke a window, he testified.

The troopers feared the car would catch fire and decided to break the window to remove the child, who was crying "hysterically" and was bleeding from a cut, Kennedy said. …

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