RILEY COUNTY, Kan. (WIBW) -- A Kansas State University graduate student responsible for a head-on collision that killed an Ogden couple had a blood alcohol content of more than twice the legal limit at the time of the deadly crash, prosecutors said.
They described the case as a night out partying that ended in tragedy for two innocent victims.
Miles Theurer, 24, appeared in Riley County District Court Tuesday morning and was emotional as he entered pleas of no contest to two counts of Involuntary Manslaughter While Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol, per his plea agreement with the state. Only still photography was permitted during the hearing.
Theurer was arrested at the Riley County Police Department on Thursday, September 20, 2012 on a Riley County District Court warrant, several months after being involved in the deadly head-on collision.
The accident occurred on Monday, May 14, 2012 on K-18 near Scenic Drive in Riley County, two miles west of the city limits of Manhattan. Due to road construction on the highway, traffic was reduced to two lanes with opposing traffic traveling directly next to each other.
The crash involved two cars- a 2003 Chevy Silverado which was occupied by four people and driven by Theurer and a 2001 Buick LeSabre which was occupied by a couple- 31-year-old Elizabeth Young and 31-year-old Michael Stanley. The engaged couple was from Ogden.
Prosecutors say Theurer's Chevy Silverado truck crossed over the center line and was going the wrong way eastbound in the westbound lanes of K-18. Another passing driver spotted Theurer heading the wrong way in traffic and tried to catch his attention by flashing his lights, honking and waving his arm out of his window.
Assistant Riley County Attorney Wes Garrison says Theurer and his friends spent the night drinking at a strip club in Junction City.
Theurer ended up striking Young's car (that was going west on K-18) head on.
Young, a mother of two, and Stanley, a father of two, died at the scene. Their cause of death was severe trauma they received in the crash. The state says that blood work showed Theurer had a blood alcohol level of .19 at the time of the accident.
Troopers with the Kansas Highway Patrol reconstructed the accident scene during their investigation and once the reports and tests were complete, they presented their findings to the Riley County Attorney's Office, resulting in the warrant and Theurer's arrest four months later.
Kansas State University's website lists Theurer as a graduate PhD student in Veterinary Medicine. Theurer's permanent address is listed in Wellington, Kansas but arrest records list a local address for him in Manhattan.
Theurer faces a minimum of 36 months- 172 months (around 3 to 14 years) on each of his charges, the judge said.
His sentencing is set for June 17, 2013.
Assistant Riley County Attorney Barry Disney said he thought the plea deal was appropriate because it holds Theurer responsible for the deaths of Elizabeth Young and Michael Stanley.
Michael Stanley's mother and other family members were present for Tuesday's hearing, crying throughout the proceedings. They declined to make a comment about the case and Theurer's plea deal.