A Wichita doctor appeared in court Wednesday to face charges in a fatal accident in which police said he struck a lawn service worker before driving off with the body atop his van.
Mohammad Sarrafizadeh, 67, made his first appearance in Sedgwick County District Court, where he is charged with a felony – failure to stop at an accident resulting in death. He also is charged with a misdemeanor – vehicular homicide. The charges were filed Oct. 24.
Sarrafizadeh’s attorney, Dan Monnat, declined to comment Wednesday but referred to a statement he had made before: that the doctor had a stroke that caused him to be unaware that an accident had occurred.
Sarrafizadeh was arrested in June, the day after his van struck and killed 31-year-old lawn service worker Ramon Martinez-Limon, police have said. Police said the doctor apparently drove for three miles with the man’s body on top of his van after crashing into him along Greenwich Road near Douglas.
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"The medical evidence and testing of four independent Kansas doctors now clearly establish that" a medical condition was involved, Monnat said in the previous statement. "The condition left Dr. Sarrafizadeh so disoriented and confused that he turned around and drove home not even realizing he had been involved in an accident."
Sarrafizadeh had been driving his 22-year-old daughter, who is severely disabled, to her special-needs school the morning of the accident, Monnat has said. The stroke also forced the radiologist to retire from his position at the VA Medical Center.
"Dr. Sarrafizadeh did not consciously drive in an unsafe manner," Monnat has said. "He suffered a medical condition that caused the accident. It rendered him incapable of even understanding that an accident had occurred. Otherwise … Dr. Sarrafizadeh would have done everything possible to render immediate aid to Mr. Martinez-Limon."
Police said Martinez-Limon had been working near the street when a minivan struck him around 7:15 a.m. June 10 near a Hawker Beechcraft plant entrance. He was apparently thrown onto the roof of the vehicle. Witnesses saw the minivan driving with the victim on the roof and called 911, police said. Someone followed the vehicle to Sarrafizadeh’s house in the 1500 block of North Krug, near 13th and 127th Street East.