Local man pleads guilty to manslaughter in bicyclist’s death

A “ghost bike” was placed at the scene of the crash that killed Anthony Saluto on April 3, 2016. Joseph Lasala, 32, plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 120 days in prison and five years of probation on Thursday, August 16. Photo by Bryan Stalder.

By Paul Thompson
Northeast News

On April 3, 2016, bicyclist Anthony P. Saluto was struck and killed near the intersection of Independence Ave. and Forest Ave. by a silver 2002 Lexus 300 driven by Joseph Lasala.

On Thursday, August 16, Lasala plead guilty to 1st Degree Involuntary Manslaughter, a Class B felony offense. While Lasala faces a maximum of seven years in prison as a result of the fatal wreck, he will only have to serve 120 days in prison and five years of probation with good behavior.

Though he faces the possibility of serving the full seven-year term if he fails his probationary period, there were some at the sentencing hearing who lamented that Lasala could end up serving only four months in prison. Following the crash, an examination of Lasala’s blood found traces of benzodiazepine, cannabinoids, cocaine and opiates in his system. What’s more, Lasala initially denied being distracted or under the influence, while also attempting to claim that Saluto rode out in front of him suddenly, making a crash unavoidable.

Security footage, however, showed that Saluto was riding properly, traveling westbound in the northern-most lane. Two witnesses to the fatal crash reported seeing the silver Lexus veer into the westbound lanes and strike the sidewalk, several utility poles, and Saluto. Crime scene investigators determined that Lasala was traveling between 47 miles per hour and 57 miles per hour at the time of the crash.

According to the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office, on August 16 Lasala’s attorney suggested that his client has expressed consistent remorse since that fateful night. Still, Saluto’s family and Michael Kelley from BikeWalkKC pressed the judge to consider a stronger sentence for Lasala.

“The peace we wish for him and his family can only begin to come by making sure that Mr. Lasala is held responsible for Anthony’s death,” Kelley said in an impact statement delivered during the hearing. “Punishing Mr. Lasala won’t bring Anthony back, but it can send a clear message that the safety of vulnerable road users is a priority, not only leading to a broader understanding of who deserves protection on the road, but enabling policymakers to pass more stringent rules and regulations to bring the permanence of that protection to the pavement.”

The judge ultimately declined, noting that no sentence could change the events of April 3, 2016. That said, he “implored the defendant to take to heart what he had heard from the victim’s family,” according to the press release sent out from the Prosecutor’s Office.

To Kelley, the sentencing was a bitter pill to swallow.

“It was very somber; incredibly disappointing to say the least,” Kelley said. “At the end of the day, Anthony is gone because of those bad decisions.”

 

Want Northeast News articles sent straight to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
Enter your email address and click on the Get Instant Access button.
We respect your privacy

Comments are closed.

  • Kansas City community, leaders commemorate 60 year anniversary of life lost in deadly fire

    August 21st, 2019
    by

    Elizabeth Orosco Northeast News Community members, firefighters, and city leaders met Friday, August 16 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of […]


    Healing House baptizes over 70

    August 21st, 2019
    by

    Bryan Stalder Northeast News On Saturday, August 17, Healing House hosted their annual baptism on the 4400 block of St. […]


    Grace Church of the Nazarene burglarized, vandalized

    August 21st, 2019
    by

    Bryan Stalder Northeast News After worship services concluded at the Grace Church of the Nazarene at 4300 Independence Avenue on […]


    KCPD meets with Congolese community in effort to build bridges

    August 21st, 2019
    by

    Elizabeth Orosco Northeast News Kansas City Police officers met with members of the Congolese community this week to work to […]


    Law enforcement activity at Chouteau Courts

    August 16th, 2019
    by

    Law enforcement activity at Chouteau Courts.


  • Frontier High School students placed sixth in Solar Car Challenge

    August 14th, 2019
    by

    Elizabeth Orosco Northeast News Frontier STEM High School students took home sixth place in the Classic Division at this year’s […]


    Kansas City all-girl charter school opens its doors in Northeast August 19

    August 14th, 2019
    by

    Elizabeth Orosco Northeast News In less than a week, the Kansas City Girl’s Preparatory Academy will be welcoming its first […]


    Northeast community, KCPD rallies around 9-year-old struck by car

    August 14th, 2019
    by

    Elizabeth Orosco Northeast News Emmanuel Jombu, a 9-year-old boy, is back home and recovering after being struck by a car […]


    National Night Out in Budd Park

    August 14th, 2019
    by

    National Night Out takes place the first Tuesday of August every year. Communities all over the country bring neighbors and […]


    Frontier Schools takes 6th Place in 2019 Solar Car Challenge!

    August 14th, 2019
    by

    Want Northeast News articles sent straight to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!Enter your email address and click on the […]


  • Faces Of Northeast


  • Postcard

    Are we there yet?

    August 21st, 2019
    by

  • Remember This?

    REMEMBER THIS? Coca-cola

    August 21st, 2019
    by

  • retorts illustrated by bryan stalder


  • Want articles sent directly to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
    We respect your privacy and will not distribute your information.