June 19, 2017
KANSAS CITY, Missouri -The Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office announced charges last weekend against a 21-year-old Kansas City man who played a role in the January 2017 vehicular death of a 35-year-old woman near the intersection of St. John and Askew in the Historic Northeast.
Juan L. Sanchez faces charges of Involuntary Manslaughter in the 1st Degree, two counts of Armed Criminal Action, Assault in the 1st Degree, Leaving the Scene of an Accident, and Tampering with Physical Evidence related to the January 15, 2017 death of Shaymaa Saudi. Sanchez stands accused of bumping Saudi’s car off the road during a high-speed chase that followed an altercation with her husband. Saudi’s four-year-old child was a passenger in the vehicle at the time of the incident, which concluded when Saudi lost control of her vehicle and slammed into a utility pole.
The fatal car wreck, which occurred just after 7:30 p.m. on the evening of Sunday, January 15, was originally considered a single-car accident. But on Tuesday, January 24, after speaking with witnesses, KCPD confirmed that a suspect had been identified. The case was then submitted to the Prosecutor’s Office, where it was pending charges until June 16.
The incident left Saudi’s child with serious but non-life threatening injuries. The child was in a booster seat in the back seat of the car at the time of the wreck. One witness at the scene told the Northeast News that she heard what sounded like a race car in the moments before the fatal crash.
“I was in my room, and I hear racing,” said Northeast resident Amanda Sanchez. “I asked my son what it was.”
Sanchez said that her son saw a black truck – later connected to Sanchez – in addition to the car driven by the victim. KCPD independently verified that a black truck was involved in the crash. After the wreck, Sanchez said that she saw the black truck circle back around the scene more than once before taking off.
“The truck slowed down and went back around a couple of times. People started coming out, and there was a lot of commotion,” said Sanchez. “The last time he came around, we tried to get his license plate. It was (raining), so we couldn’t tell.”
Sgt. Kari Thompson of the KCPD Media Unit confirmed a week later that the incident was no longer considered an accident.
“We are now working this as a homicide. That’s our most recent information regarding this,” said Thompson at the time. “We do know that there’s another vehicle involved.”
Thompson said that as witnesses spoke to the police department, it became apparent that the incident was more than an accident. Police then determined that the wreck was caused by a ‘purposeful event that resulted in a death,’ but noted at the time that the investigation was not being conducted by the Homicide Unit.
“It’s still being worked as a homicide,” said Thompson. “The Accident Investigation Unit is taking the lead on the investigation, but it still will be part of our homicide numbers.”
The initial report released by KCPD on the morning of Monday, Jan. 16 said that a woman’s vehicle was traveling west on St. John when, for unknown reasons, it left the roadway and made contact with a metal utility pole. After being transported to a local hospital, the driver of the vehicle – later determined to be Shaymaa Saudi – was pronounced dead.