By JONATHAN ZWEYGARDT
A 21-year-old Mexican citizen will serve a year in prison for a drunk driving crash that killed a 56-year-old Schoenchen man in October 2021.
After pleading guilty to vehicular homicide in September, Martin Efren Velazquez Cruz was sentenced Tuesday in Ellis County District Court to one year in prison.
Cruz was initially charged with six different counts in connection to the Oct. 3, 2021, crash south of Hays.
According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, Cruz was traveling southbound on U.S. 183 and tried to pass another vehicle. He collided head-on with a northbound passenger car driven by 56-year-old James Kohl of Schoenchen.
Kohl was killed in the accident.
Cruz was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, “under the legal limit of .08 but to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely driving the vehicle.”
He was also charged with vehicular homicide, reckless driving, speeding, passing on left with insufficient clearance and display or possess fictitious or fraudulent ID card.
As a result of Cruz pleading guilty to vehicular homicide and entering into a diversion into the driving under the influence charge, the four other charges were dismissed by the state.
In Kansas, vehicular homicide is a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison.
Cruz will also be required to pay restitution covering Kohl’s funeral costs and the cost of his car