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Man pleads no contest in 2012 driving deaths

By Katherine Wartell

A K-State student accused of causing the deaths of two people while driving drunk on K-18 pleaded no contest to involuntary manslaughter in court Tuesday.

Miles Theurer, 24, Manhattan, appeared in front of District Judge John Bosch, who found Theurer guilty of two counts of involuntary manslaughter while driving under the influence of alcohol. He was convicted of causing the deaths of Elizabeth Young, 31, and Michael Stanley, 31, an engaged couple living in Ogden, after he drove his pick-up truck head-on into the couple’s sedan in the early morning hours of May 14, 2012.

As a part of Theurer’s plea deal, two counts of reckless aggravated battery were dismissed. Those counts were for injuries sustained by two of Theurer’s passengers, Andrew Mason, 25, and Lance Schmidt, 23.

In court, Assistant County Attorney Wes Garrison provided a synopsis of the time leading up to the crash. He said that Theurer and three other K-State veterinary students had been drinking the previous night at a strip club in Junction City before returning to Manhattan in Theurer’s Chevrolet Silverado at approximately 2:45 a.m. the next morning.

On K-18, Theurer, who had a blood alcohol content of .19 at the time of crash, began driving east in the westbound lanes. Garrison said another driver attempted to alert Theurer by honking and flashing his lights and at one point drove beside Theurer’s truck and waved his arms, but failed to get his attention.

Theurer was reportedly driving between 55 and 65 miles per hour before driving head-on into Young’s oncoming Buick LeSabre near the Manhattan Regional Airport.

Young, a mother of two, and Stanley, a father of two, were pronounced dead on the scene. Their cause of death was listed as severe trauma as a result of the crash.

Theurer faces a possible prison sentence of between 38 months— or about 3 years — and 172 months — or about 14 years — and a fine of up to $300,000 for each count of involuntary manslaughter.

Though state officials said they are seeking prison time, Theurer’s attorney, Pedro Irigonegaray, indicated in court that Theurer would be seeking a departure from the presumptive sentence.

Theurer is out of jail on $50,000 bond.

His sentencing is scheduled for June 17 at the Riley County Courthouse.

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