Drunk driver’s manslaughter sentence surprises victims’ Kansas City neighbor

OLATHE, Kan. -- It has been almost a year since the driver of a car T-boned Donna and William Manning as they headed to church. Wednesday, the man who caused the deadly crash received 14 years and nine months in prison.

Harold Benton Cyphers the III had previously been charged in Johnson County with charges including felony drug possession and driving with a suspended license before the deadly crash involving Mr. and Mrs. Manning. Now some wonder why he’ll be able to resume his life in 15 years, despite the two lives he took.

It’s taken some getting use to for Gus Rodriguez, who has missed seeing a pair of friendly faces in his neighborhood.

“It’s just hard because a lot of times Bill would just be sitting outside and he’d wave to people as they go by. I just miss seeing him out there. Bill and Donna they were great neighbors,” said Rodriguez.

The Mannings were on their way to church in July when the crash happened at State Line and 119th. Donna Manning, 69, died at the scene, and 71-year old William Manning died 17 days later from his injuries. Prosecutors then charged Cyphers III with two counts of involuntary manslaughter while driving under the influence, felony possession of meth, felony theft, and identity theft. His guilty plea means Cyphers will spend just under 15 years in jail.

“I was kind of surprised. I didn’t think that he would get off kind of that easy. You know he killed two people. I might be biased because they were friends, but I think he should have gotten a lot worse than he did,” said Rodriguez.

He says he’s now left with only memories of his eight year friendship with the couple.

“They were super nice neighbors. You couldn’t ask for better neighbors. They were always willing to help out any time you needed help,” said Rodriguez.

FOX 4 reached out to loved ones of Donna and William Manning about the guilty plea, but have not heard back.