Truck Driver Charged in Fatal Hit-and-Run Accident on Kansas Highway

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Prosecutors in Geary County, Kansas requested a continuance in their criminal case against a truck driver accused of a hit-and-run accident with a motorcycle. The motorcyclist died of his injuries soon after the crash. The truck driver faces charges related to a fatal motor vehicle accident and false statements.

The accident occurred at about 3:00 a.m. on August 24, 2012. Calls to 911 indicated that a man was lying on the road next to a motorcycle along Interstate 70 west of Junction City. The 28 year-old victim had been heading west on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle on the way to Las Vegas. An 18-wheeler allegedly struck the motorcycle from behind. The victim suffered severe head trauma, and was pronounced dead at the hospital several hours later. The investigation was delayed several hours due to rainy conditions, but investigators were able to return to the scene the following day. They determined at that time that another vehicle had been involved in the crash, and issued a press release asking for information from the public.

The sheriff’s department investigation lasted several months. They collected paint samples, which they sent to state law enforcement for paint transfer tests. They also received multiple tips. On November 2, 2012, they issued a warrant for truck driver Rodney Stockstill, Sr. of St. Joseph, Missouri. According to Topeka’s WIBW News, he is charged with Accident Involving a Death and Making a False Writing, an offense related to false statements to law enforcement of other officials.

Stockstill was incarcerated in Doniphan County on unrelated drug charges at the time the sheriff’s department issued the warrant. He was transferred to Geary County in mid-December, where he reportedly remains in custody on $50,000 bond. Stockstill is a truck driver for a Doniphan County-based company. The night of the accident, he was allegedly traveling on one of his usual routes, which he took several times a week. Local news has reported that he has several prior drug-related convictions, but it is not known if prosecutors are alleging that drugs were a factor in the accident.

The prosecution was expected to present evidence against Stockstill at a preliminary hearing on January 24, 2013. They instead requested a continuance, telling the court that one or more witnesses located out of state had evidence relevant to the prosecution, and that the state needed more time to arrange travel. The county attorney requested forty-five days additional time, which would give them until around March 10.

This accident involved many of the most significant risk factors for highway accidents. 18-wheelers and other large trucks, by virtue of their immense size and weight, pose a particular danger to other vehicles. Motorcycles are particularly prone to accidents, given that they are comparatively lightweight. Motorcycle operators have no restraints to protect them in the event of an accident, and protective gear is only useful to a certain point. The early-morning time of the accident and the rainy conditions further compounded the danger.

Motorcycle accident attorney, Doug Horn is an advocate for safe driving in the greater Kansas City area. He represents the rights of people who have suffered injuries or lost loved ones due to the negligent or illegal conduct of others. Contact us today online or at (816) 795-7500 to schedule a free and confidential consultation.

Photo credit: By Edwin Olson, via Wikimedia Commons.