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KC Man Pleads Guiley to Manslaughter in Wreck in Which Motorcyclist Died.

Kansas City man pleads guilty to manslaughter in wreck in which motorcyclist died
BRIAN BURNES, The Kansas City Star
PUBLICATION: Kansas City Star, The (MO)

SECTION: News

DATE: May 1, 2014
A Kansas City man accused of causing a fatal wreck involving a motorcyclist pleaded guilty Thursday to involuntary manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident.

Ronald O’Kelly allegedly failed to stop his vehicle at a red light before it struck Leroy Bronson near Bannister and Wornall roads in south Kansas City in April 2013.

According to court records, Kansas City police officers discovered the crashed motorcycle near Bronson’s body. About 500 feet away, they found a Ford F-150 with accident damage.

The truck’s license plate led investigators to O’Kelly, who witnesses said had appeared intoxicated while drinking at a tavern late on April 6. According to investigators, cellphone records indicated that O’Kelly was talking on his cellphone at the time of the accident.

O’Kelly stood before Jackson County Circuit Judge Sandra C. Midkiff during the 20-minute plea hearing Thursday as friends and family members of Bronson filled half the courtroom.

Donna Bronson, the victim’s sister, said she was unmoved by the plea hearing.

“I want him to show that he is sorry,” she said.

John Picerno, O’Kelly’s attorney, said his client will address the court when he is sentenced June 27.

According to the plea agreement, Picerno said, O’Kelly faces seven years on the manslaughter charge and four years for leaving the accident scene. But the agreement also says the judge could sentence O’Kelly to either probation or 120 days of shock time, he said. If O’Kelly successfully served the 120 days, he would then be placed on probation for up to five years, Picerno said.