KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A family defends their loved one as the 30-year-old Kansas City, Kansas, man appeared in court on two counts of felony murder following a high speed police chase.
The chase started in KCK and ended in a deadly crash on Independence Avenue in Kanas City, Missouri.
Relatives at the Jackson County Courthouse on Thursday said the suspect, Charles Matthews, wasn’t in his right mind.
Police said a 13-year-old boy had just started up his uncle’s SUV on N. 18th Street in KCK late Saturday night when Matthews approached him with a knife and told the boy to get back.
Matthews then drove away in the SUV, according to court documents, leading KCK police on a chase that reached speeds of 100 mph.
The suspect’s family said Matthews never would have done such a thing if he wasn’t hooked on drugs.
“When he’s here at home, he’s cool. He’s fine because nobody does anything here,” his mother Tracy Ridge said. “It’s when he leaves my house, I don’t know who he hangs with.”
Investigators said the chase crossed the state line into Kansas City, Missouri, where Matthews exited the highway and sped through traffic signals on Independence Avenue.
According to court documents, Matthews told detectives he thought the chase would end once he crossed into Missouri.
But KCK police continued their pursuit until the stolen SUV sped through a red light at Independence and Hardesty, crashing into another car, killing two people inside identified as 44-year-old Gabriela Trejo-Garcia and 26-year-old Juan Avila.
“I am so sorry for your loss. To the families. We didn’t know,” Matthews aunt Laura Ridge said. “We thought he’d gotten kidnapped because nobody has seen him on the street. Nobody has heard from him. The police wouldn’t give us no information.”
Police said Matthews was traveling 77 mph at the time of impact. Detectives said Matthews told them he had not slept in five days and does not remember the crash or specific details about the chase.
A judge ordered Matthews to remain in custody on a $150,000 bond. He has a bond review hearing scheduled for Jan. 23.