A 37-year-old Texas man could face murder charges following a fatal accident early Tuesday morning that left two people dead, according to Wichita police.
Police expected the man to be booked on suspicion of two counts of second-degree murder after his release from Via Christi Hospital on St. Francis. He was admitted for observation after the crash but remained in police custody, said Lt. Joe Schroeder of the Wichita Police Department.
Wichita police Lt. Doug Nolte said the suspect was arrested Tuesday afternoon.
The man’s name has not been released.
Shortly after 3 a.m. Tuesday, Schroeder said, the man was driving a white Dodge Ram pickup west on Kellogg when it struck a metal light pole at Kellogg and Webb. The impact caused extensive damage to the passenger side of the vehicle and caused its two passengers – a 50-year-old man and a 34-year-old man – to be ejected. The men – who were not identified – died on impact, police said.
The driver, Schroeder said, did not sustain any obvious injuries and was able to walk away from the accident. However, he was taken to the hospital in serious condition.
“We suspect alcohol and speed are major contributing factors” in the crash, Schroeder said.
All three men were from Texas and part of a crew that does work on oil rigs in the area.
A witness who saw the truck shortly before the accident estimated it was traveling at speeds of 65 to 90 mph in that portion of Kellogg that’s marked 45 mph.
The accident closed traffic at that intersection for nearly four hours while law enforcement officers and emergency crews worked to clean up wreckage debris. All lanes were opened shortly after 7 a.m.
Jail records show a 37-year-old man was booked into Sedgwick County Jail at 4:54 p.m. on suspicion of two counts of unintentional but reckless second degree murder. A Wesley operator confirmed that man had been released from the hospital Tuesday afternoon.