KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Investigators say a man facing charges in a deadly weekend crash was driving as fast as 94 miles per hour with his girlfriend and 2-year-old daughter in an SUV that he flipped after running a red light, and clipping another car at the intersection of Interstate 435 and Bannister Road.
The deadly crash happened on Saturday afternoon at about 1:30. On Monday, Jackson County prosecutors charged 25-year-old Derrius L. Tolson with two counts of first-degree involuntary manslaughter after his girlfriend and daughter died at the scene.
Court documents say Tolson was driving a Jeep Grand Cherokee and either racing or chasing the driver of a blue Dodge car while headed westbound on Bannister. Witnesses and investigators say Tolson didn’t stop at a red light, striking a driver in a silver Honda Accord who was turning through a green light from the southbound I-435 ramp to Bannister.
A witness who saw Tolson and the driver of the Dodge said they passed him at Bannister near Hillcrest going so fast that it caused his Ford F-350 van to rock. The driver of the Honda who was hit said she checked the intersection and didn’t see any approaching vehicles before hearing a loud boom, and was unsure of what hit her car. She suffered minor injuries.
The impact sent the Jeep flipping numerous times, landing on its roof. Tolson and the 2-year-old were thrown from the SUV where the child died, and Tolson was hospitalized with moderate injuries.
Hours after the crash, Tolson spoke with investigators and told them he was going to pick up a relative when he encountered the Dodge driver at Blue Ridge and Bannister, about a mile east of the crash scene. He said the other driver was revving their engine when the light turned green, and felt they were pacing him and too close.
He said he sped up to between 60 and 65 miles per hour to get away from that other driver and wasn’t sure of what he hit before the SUV began to flip. He said he didn’t recognize the other vehicle, nor did he recall having issues with the other driver.
Court documents say he admitted to running red lights. He told investigators he thought everyone in the SUV was properly secured, though added that his daughter would undo her seat belt occasionally. A crash report says a front-facing car seat was found in the back seat but didn’t appear to be properly secured.
Data from the SUV revealed Tolson was going between 92 and 94 miles per hour in a 40 miles per hour zone at the time of the crash. The engine throttle was at 99% and Tolson didn’t apply his brakes.
He’s being held on a $100,000 bond and is due to make his first court appearance on Monday afternoon.