"The tears flowed on both sides of the aisle yesterday as 16-year-old Joshua Pena pleaded guilty in Johnson County District Court to involuntary manslaughter in the vehicular death last year of a close friend, 16-year-old Zach Myers."
So begins former Star reporter Jim Fitzpatrick’s final installment on the death last December of the Olathe teen.
"As a result of a plea agreement, Pena was sentenced to 60 days in the Juvenile Detention Center and two years of supervised probation. If he fails to abide by the terms of the probation, he could be sentenced to a detention term of 18 months to three years. Also, his driving privileges were suspended for a year."
Fitzpatrick, you may recall, tore into the seemingly innocuous news short that ran in the newspaper following Myers death after noticing the Star had failed to report whether Myers seatbelt had been fastened or not.
Fitz got a chilly receptiion from Myers’ family and police, but in the end his intrepid instincts prevailed.
"Myers died as a result of a two-car, head-on collision last December," Fitzpatrick says. "Pena was driving the car that Myers and another student were in, and Pena admitted to driving at speeds up to 70 mph on North Iowa Street, in an area where the speed limit is 25."
Pena’s lawyer "(Jason) Billam and Assistant District Attorney Don Hymer noted that, in addition to the criminal case, a civil lawsuit was pending. Billam and Hymer said the Pena and Myers families had agreed to the terms of a settlement and that the case should be resolved soon."
Likely meaning that Myers family filed some sort of "insurance lawsuit" against Pena’s family and awaits payoff.