Murder case bound over for arraignment

John Richmeier
Anthony J. Dorsey

A judge has bound over the case of a man who is facing a murder charge for a fatal crash on Interstate 70 in southern Leavenworth County.

A preliminary hearing was held Tuesday in the case of Anthony J. Dorsey. At the conclusion of the hearing, District Judge Gerald Kuckelman said he was binding the defendant over for the charges of first-degree murder and fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer.

The crimes are alleged to have occurred Sept. 30, 2019. Dorsey allegedly was fleeing from a state trooper on I-70 when he was involved in a crash.

Another driver, Nathan Pena of Brookfield, Illinois, was killed in the crash.

Dorsey is charged with what is known as felony murder, which is a form of first-degree murder.

Under state law, felony murder occurs during “the commission of, attempt to commit, or flight from any inherently dangerous felony.”

Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Darren Griffin testified during Tuesday’s preliminary hearing.

Griffin testified that he attempted to stop a Chevrolet Tahoe driven by Dorsey on Sept. 30 on I-70 in Wyandotte County. The trooper said he attempted the traffic stop because the vehicle had an expired temporary tag from the state of Missouri.

Griffin said it initially appeared the driver was going to stop. But he then allegedly drove away, traveling west in the westbound lanes of the interstate.

Griffin said he initiated a pursuit at that time. The trooper said he pursued the vehicle for about 10 miles. The pursuit lasted about eight minutes.

“He was using the entire roadway to flee from me,” Griffin said.

The trooper testified the Tahoe passed other vehicles and at times traveled on the shoulders of the interstate’s westbound lanes.

Griffin said the pursuit crossed into Leavenworth County. The trooper testified that Dorsey made a U-turn and began traveling east in the westbound lanes of the interstate.

Griffin said he also turned around to catch up to Tahoe, which was traveling in the wrong direction.

Griffin said he believed another trooper was going to attempt to “take out” the Tahoe in order to end the pursuit.

“We have to take his vehicle out or he’s going to hurt somebody,” Griffin said.

The vehicle pursuit ended when the Tahoe collided with Pena’s car.

Griffin alleged that Dorsey fled on foot after the crash. The trooper testified he apprehended Dorsey between 200 and 250 yards from the crash scene.

Griffin said he spoke with Dorsey after the defendant was taken into custody. Griffin said Dorsey told him that he fled from the trooper because he did not want his vehicle to be towed away.

During Griffin’s testimony, Assistant County Attorney Shawn Boyd played a video of the pursuit and crash that was captured by the camera system in the trooper’s patrol vehicle.

During cross examination, Griffin acknowledged the expired temporary tag was the sole reason for the attempted traffic stop. But he said this was not the sole reason for the pursuit.

“The pursuit is absolutely separate,” he said. “They’re not tied together.”

During the cross examination, defense attorney Clinton Lee questioned why the trooper did not discontinue the pursuit due to safety concerns.

Griffin said he did not discontinue the pursuit when the Tahoe made a U-turn based on the totality of the factors.

“He was going to kill somebody, and I have a duty to stop him,” Griffin said.

During cross examination, Griffin also testified that an autopsy of Pena revealed he had marijuana in his system.

When later responding to a question from Boyd, Griffin said there were no indicators at the time of the crash that Pena was impaired.

At the conclusion of the hearing, Kuckelman said the prosecution had met the burden of proof for the case to be bound over for arraignment.

Kuckelman scheduled the arraignment for Sept. 4.

Dorsey, who remains in custody, will be asked to enter a plea during the arraignment.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR