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D.A. will not file charges in January rollover crash that killed Derby teen

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Sunday, August 18, 2013, at 2:50 p.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, Sep. 4, 2013, at 11:59 a.m.

Prosecutors said they will not pursue charges in the death of a 14-year-old Derby boy, killed in January after an SUV full of teenagers veered off a rural Sedgwick County road.

Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett’s Office said last week that after reviewing the details surrounding Braxton Kooser’s death, “no charges will be filed at this time.”

The decision was made “based on our review of the applicable law and the facts of the investigation to date,” according to an e-mailed statement Friday from D.A. spokesman Dan Dillon. No further details were provided.

Authorities have said Kooser was a passenger in the Dodge Durango when it veered into a ditch and rolled along 87th Street South near Webb Road on Jan. 26. The driver, 14-year-old Caleb Sheldon, apparently lost control of the SUV while traveling on gravel, according to a news release issued in January by the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office.

Kooser, who was thrown from the vehicle, died at the scene. Sheldon, as well as two 15-year-old passengers, sustained injuries but recovered.

The friends were reportedly returning home after watching a movie when the crash occurred. Kooser was a Derby High School freshman.

Sheriff’s spokesman Lt. David Mattingly said Friday that the case was submitted to the D.A. last week, following a nearly eight-month investigation.

Under state law, 14-year-olds with an instruction permit must have a licensed adult in the front seat while driving. Those with farm permits are allowed to drive to school and to and from their jobs on farms.

Reach Amy Renee Leiker at 316-268-6644 or aleiker@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @amyreneeleiker.

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