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Man charged with murder after fatal crash near 21st and Adams

A 20-year-old man has been identified as the fatality victim in a Monday morning crash near...
A 20-year-old man has been identified as the fatality victim in a Monday morning crash near S.E. 21st and Madison in East Topeka. (WIBW)
Published: Jun. 24, 2020 at 5:40 PM CDT
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Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay has charged a man with murder after the stolen car he was allegedly driving lost control and crashed, killing his passenger.

According to Kagay, Darren Matthew Johnson, has been charged with Murder in the First Degree or in the alternative Murder in the Second Degree, Fleeing or Attempting to Elude and Aggravated Robbery.

The charges stem after Ricardo J. Rodriguez, 20, was the passenger in a black Kia sport utility vehicle that had been reported stolen earlier Monday morning.

The SUV collided with a Nissan pickup truck just east of the Thurgood Marshall Memorial Bridge, about a block west of S.E. 21st and Adams.

Rodriguez was pronounced dead at the scene, and later cleared of any involvement in the armed robbery.

Police said they received a call regarding an armed robbery that occurred around 4:15 a.m. Monday in the 300 block of S.E. Lawrence. Two men were reported to have stolen the victim's black Kia SUV. One of the men had a gun.

Then around 5:20 a.m., police said, officers spotted the vehicle at S.E. 21st and Indiana Avenue and attempted to stop it. However, the driver, believed to be Johnson, fled and officers lost sight of it.

A short time later, police said, an officer spotted the SUV about six blocks to the west, near S.E. 21st and Adams, as it was driving at a high rate of speed and ran the red light. Seconds later, the officer watched the SUV crash into a black Nissan pickup truck.

Police said officers weren't in pursuit of the SUV at the time of the crash.

The passenger in the front seat of the car is a juvenile and has been charged with Aggravated Robbery.

Both the passenger and Johnson suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

The driver of the pickup suffered minor injuries.

The family has set up a

for Rodriguez's funeral services: