Criminal charges have been filed against the two men who were towing school buses that broke down on the Kansas Turnpike last week, leading to a series of auto accidents that killed a 60-year-old Wichita man.
In Sedgwick County District Court on Friday, Alfonso Cano-Corral, 45, and Ubaldo Corea-Madrid, 56, were each charged with one count of vehicular homicide, making false information, no proof of insurance, no valid driver’s license, improper tires, driving the wrong way on a one-way street and improper U-turn.
Their preliminary hearings have been set for April 4. They each have bonds of $100,000.
The men were driving school buses back to Mexico — each towing one school bus behind the one they were driving — when one of the buses being towed got a flat tire at about midnight a mile north of the K-15 exit in south Wichita, authorities have said.
Cano-Corral unhooked the two buses and parked the bus he was driving behind the disabled bus, facing north in a southbound lane. One of the other buses being towed also became disabled at nearly the same time, and the two drivers were working on the bus with the flat tire in the left-hand lane of southbound traffic.
Two passenger cars going south collided with each other while attempting to avoid the buses stopped on the turnpike, authorities have said. Those two cars, in turn, became disabled and blocked both southbound lanes.
A 28-year-old Emporia man driving a semi was able to stop in the right-hand lane before striking either passenger car, according to the Turnpike Authority report.
Donald Putman of Wichita tried to avoid the halted semi by moving to the left-hand lane, but his car was struck by a pickup driven by a 57-year-old Haysville man and forced into the rear axle of the semi, authorities have said.
Putman, 60, was pronounced dead at the scene. No other injuries were reported.