Man gets 20 years for fatal Midtown accident

Drew Ryland

Drew Ryland

A Jackson County judge on Thursday sentenced an Independence man to 20 years for causing a fatal accident in Midtown while drunk.

Drew M. Ryland, 26, had been drinking in Westport on Sept, 20, 2014, when police tried to stop his SUV on Southwest Trafficway near 31st Street.

From the police report:

Ryland had run two red lights before that, and ran another at 31st and Broadway and continued east. Police broke off pursuit and Ryland ran a red light at Main Street and crashed head on into a car at 31st and Grand Avenue.

Two passengers in the SUV were injured and the driver of the car, Michael Hernandez, was killed.

Evidence showed that Ryland was going 81 miles an hour when he slammed into the car and had a blood alcohol content of .145, far above the .08 legal limit.

At a hospital, police reported, an officer found Ryland’s eyes “bloodshot and glassy” and the suspect asked. “Am I in trouble?” and then asked for a lawyer.

A jury convicted him in March of felony murder, resisting arrest, five counts of armed criminal action and three counts of second-degree assault.

Sentences for all are concurrent for the 20-year total.

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