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Police seek man who may be linked to fatal crash on Arkansas

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013, at 11:38 a.m.
  • Updated Thursday, April 24, 2014, at 2:02 p.m.

Police have released the name and photograph of a man they think was involved in a collision in north Wichita that killed a 34-year-old woman early Sunday morning.

Investigators think Javier Rizo, 22, was one of four people in a gray van that fled from an attempted stop by police in downtown Wichita just before 2 a.m. Sunday. The resulting chase worked its way north before supervisors called it off on Broadway after speeds reached 70 miles per hour, police have said.

The van turned west on 24th from Broadway, ran a stop sign at Arkansas and struck a southbound car driven by Maria Martinez. The impact knocked the sedan into a parking lot on the southwest corner of the intersection, police have said.

Martinez, 34, was pronounced dead a short time after the accident at a local hospital. Two of the four people in the van fled the scene before officers arrived.

Investigators think Rizo is one of them.

“At this point, we want to talk to him in relation to this” accident, Lt. Joe Schroeder said. “I firmly believe someone out there knows exactly where he is.”

Anyone with knowledge of Rizo’s location is encouraged to call 911, the Accident Follow-Up Unit at 316-268-4167 or 316-268-4518, or Crime Stoppers at 316-267-2111.

Rizo is also wanted on two outstanding warrants from the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office. One of them is related to a 2007 homicide.

Rizo pleaded guilty to felony murder as a juvenile in the killing of Gonzalo Gomez on May 15, 2007, in what prosecutors described as a robbery that turned deadly. As part of the plea, Rizo was sentenced to a detention facility until he was 22 1/2 years old, then under supervised release until he was 23.

But Rizo was arrested early on the morning of June 13 after a police pursuit that lasted seven minutes in southwest Wichita and at times reached speeds of 90 miles an hour. Rizo was booked into jail on suspicion of 26 charges, and a warrant was issued for running from his supervised release.

He absconded from supervised release again, however, and another warrant for his arrest was issued on Sept. 27.

Martinez’s death raises the number of people killed in traffic accidents in Wichita this year to 28 in 25 incidents, Schroeder said. There had been 24 deaths in 23 accidents through the same period of 2012.

The two people pulled from the back of the van following the collision were hospitalized, police have said. One has since been released.

Reach Stan Finger at 316-268-6437 or sfinger@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @StanFinger.

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