Court officials appointed a public defender to the driver who allegedly caused a deadly crash on Interstate 70 on Wednesday during the man’s first appearance in Geary County Court Friday morning.
Gary Nelson, 22, a Fort Riley soldier from Junction City, was arrested late Wednesday night following a police chase on I-70 in which Nelson drove westbound in the eastbound lanes of the interstate, causing an oncoming vehicle to crash after an attempt to avoid Nelson’s car.
The accident occurred about half a mile west of Chestnut Street in Junction City, and resulted in the death of Jake Black, 53, Manhattan, a passenger in the vehicle that crashed.
Nelson was arrested for vehicular homicide, fleeing and eluding law enforcement, reckless driving and speeding, but he has not been formally charged.
Officials said Nelson did not stop after the crash and was apprehended near the Abilene exit in Dickinson County, after deputies from the Dickinson County Sheriff’s Office closed down the eastbound lanes of I-70.
Officials said pursuit of Nelson began after troopers observed Nelson driving on the wrong side the interstate near Grandview Plaza.
On Thursday, Geary County officials suggested Nelson was suicidal.
In court, Nelson was assigned a $100,000 bond. His next court date, a status hearing, is scheduled for April 11.
Officials said the Kansas Highway Patrol Critical Highway Accident Response Team (C.H.A.R.T.) was activated to investigate the crash.