Weather delays hearing on manslaughter charge
By ABIGAIL WILSON
Dodge City Daily Globe
DODGE CITY -- A hearing for Braulio De La Cruz-Gonzalez, 19, scheduled for Feb. 25 has yet to be rescheduled. The hearing was not held as planned because the Ford County Courthouse was closed due to weather.
De La Cruz-Gonzalez has been charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter and one count of driving left of center for the April 8 deaths of 67-year-old Fred Ruda and 90-year-old Eleanor T. Sexson. Two alternative charges of vehicular homicide are also on the table.
Ruda and Sexson, both of Hays, were killed in a car accident 7 miles west of Dodge City.
According to Assistant Ford County Attorney Kevin Salzman, the decision to charge De La Cruz-Gonzales was made after a review of all available evidence from the crash including witness statements and statutory case law.
De La Cruz-Gonzalez was eastbound on U.S. Highway 56 when his 2005 GMC Yukon crossed the center line and struck a westbound 2010 Buick Lucerne driven Ruda. The Buick went into the north ditch and came to rest on its wheels facing north, and the Yukon rolled over, entered the north ditch and came to rest on its passenger's side facing south. Another passenger, 63-year-old Sherrill Ruda, Hays, suffered disabling injuries and was taken to Western Plains Medical Complex for treatment. She has since recovered.
De La Cruz-Gonzalez was also injured and was taken to the hospital. His passenger, 16-year-old Alejandro Penagos of Dodge City, may have had minor injuries but was not hospitalized.
Fred Ruda was a longtime Fort Hays State University professor. The Rudas, along with Sherrill's mother Eleanor, were en route to Montezuma to spend Easter Sunday at the home of a family member.
De La Cruz-Gonzalez is free on bond.
If found guilty, he faces 31 months to 136 months in prison for each involuntary manslaughter charge.