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Woman arrested after failing to show up to court in crash that killed 3 heading home after football championship

Maria De Jesus

OMAHA, Neb. — U.S. Marshals arrested a 49-year-old woman Tuesday after she failed to show up for court on charges related to a November 2017 crash that killed three people.

According to Jackson County, Kan., Sheriff Tim Morse, when Maria De Jesus Perez-Marquez did not show up for her Oct. 11 court date, his office requested the help of U.S. Marshals to find her.

U.S. Marshals arrested Perez-Marquez Tuesday morning in Omaha. She is charged with three counts of involuntary manslaughter and two counts of aggravated battery and reckless driving in connection with the crash that killed three members of the Ukele family.

The crash that killed three people in one family in November 2017.

The Ukele family was headed home from watching their sons Tanner and Carson win the state championship with Sabetha High School’s football team when the crash happened.

Perez-Marquez was driving a 2008 Equinox SUV southbound and tried to pass another southbound vehicle.  When she realized she wasn’t going to make it, she swerved onto the shoulder to avoid hitting the 2008 Town & Country minivan Carmen Ukele was driving north.

But Ukele also swerved onto the shoulder to avoid the SUV coming at her, and the two vehicles collided head-on. Both vehicles came to a rest on the shoulder  about a half-mile north of where U.S. 75 intersects with 318th Road, the Highway Patrol reported.

Ukele, her 11-year-old daughter Marlee Ukele and Marlee’s uncle Stephen Ukele died.

Perez-Marquez and her passenger, Rosalao G. Perez of St. Joseph, were airlifted to the University of Kansas Hospital. So was Carmen Ukele’s husband, Lee Ukele.

The boys were on the bus with the team.

Sheriff Morse said in a news release Tuesday announcing Perez-Marquez’s arrest that she will be transported to the Douglas County Jail in Omaha where she will await an extradition hearing.

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