For Immediate Release
Feb. 17, 2023
A Tonganoxie, Kan., man, 18, has been charged with two manslaughter counts for operating a vehicle at an excessive speed and running a red light, causing the vehicular crash that Wednesday night took the life of a Kansas City patrol officer, a pedestrian and the officer’s K-9 Champ, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker announced today.
Jerron Allen Lightfoot, dob: 02/18/2004, faces two counts of Involuntary Manslaughter 1st Degree.*
According to court records filed Thursday evening, Kansas City police officers responded to East Truman Road and Benton Blvd. on a vehicular crash. Arriving officers saw a man standing by a white Ford Fusion, one of the crashed vehicles. The man was later identified as Jerron Allen Lightfoot, the driver and sole occupant of the white Ford vehicle. The other vehicle in the crash was a marked police car. The police officer, James M. Muhlbauer, was in the driver’s seat, unconscious. He was wearing a seatbelt. A police K-9 Champ was deceased in the back second row of the police car. The officer was transported to an area hospital and later pronounced deceased. Police found a second deceased male under the police vehicle.
Video from the area of the crash, according to court records, showed the police officer was traveling eastbound at E. Truman Road and had a green light at the intersection. The white Ford was traveling southbound on Benton Boulevard at a high rate of speed and failed to stop at the traffic signal just prior to striking the police vehicle. In addition, the police officer’s dash cam showed he had a green light as he went through the intersection just prior to the crash. A check of the white Ford’s electronic ACM system showed the vehicle’s brakes were working just prior to the crash and the vehicle was traveling at 85 mph or more just before impact.
Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker issued the following statement:
“My office spoke Thursday evening with the family of our officer victim. We have not yet been able to meet with the family of our pedestrian victim prior to this filing, but we will meet soon with that victim’s family. We extend our condolences to both grieving families and the police department. We are grateful for the pace of the police department’s investigative work that allowed us to file these charges so quickly.”
*Charges are only accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until the defendant is either found guilty or has pleaded guilty.