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Man charged in deadly wreck had license suspended or revoked 13 times

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According to court records, a vehicle owned and operated by Andrew Stark ran a red light, according to witnesses, at East 23rd Street and Hardesty Avenue and crashed into a vehicle with three occupants, killing the 35-year-old driver, Jason R. Lewis. According to court records, a vehicle owned and operated by Andrew Stark ran a red light, according to witnesses, at East 23rd Street and Hardesty Avenue and crashed into a vehicle with three occupants, killing the 35-year-old driver, Jason R. Lewis.
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

An Independence man has been charged with murder in connection with a fatal wreck on Monday in east Kansas City.

Andrew K. Stark, 22, faces a charge of second-degree murder. Prosecutors also filed an alternative charge of involuntary manslaughter.

He also faces two counts of second-degree assault, a felony charge of resisting a lawful stop, a felony count of leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident and a misdemeanor count of driving while a license was revoked.

Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters-Baker said the charges state that felony murder is being charged because the victim was killed in a vehicular collision as a result of the perpetration of the Class D felony of resisting a lawful stop.

According to court records, a vehicle owned and operated by Stark ran a red light, according to witnesses, at East 23rd Street and Hardesty Avenue and crashed into a vehicle with three occupants, killing the 35-year-old driver, Jason R. Lewis.

Two other women in the car were injured. Police said one of them, a 35-year-old, remains in critical condition and a 17-year-old is expected to be released from the hospital soon. 

Neighbors are remembering the victim for his generosity and desire to help others.

"It's devastating because, you hate to lose somebody that you know, especially in that type of scenario," said Tarence Willis, a family friend.

He knows how tough it is for the victim's family. He was known to help out people in the neighborhood.

"That particular day he was helping, I think it was his sister, or family members out, just taking them to the grocery store, so he's always, he's always a helpful hand," Willis said.

The deadly crash happened right outside Willis' house. He said he recognized the victim's car and went to help. He said what he saw was something he'll never forget.

"When I came out and I knew it was him and his family, it was kind of a tragedy for real," he said.

Lewis' family was not ready to speak about the tragedy.

Police said they tried to stop Stark for speeding and nearly hitting another car in Independence, MO, three miles from where he eventually crashed.

Prior to the crash an Independence police officer was in pursuit of Stark's silver Saab, and it was weaving in and out of traffic at a high rate of speed, in excess of 100 mph.

The officer terminated pursuit a few blocks before the crash occurred after Stark almost lost control of his vehicle.

After the crash, witnesses saw the driver exit the Saab and flee on foot. Witnesses directed police to the driver who was taken into custody a block away from the crash scene.

"You can't over-emphasize the level of irresponsibility. Our heart goes out to this family," said Sgt. Bill Mahoney with the Kansas City Police Department's traffic unit.

Stark was treated for minor injuries.

Police said his license had been revoked and he should not have been driving. DMV records indicate Stark had his license suspended or revoked 13 times in the past and he had five prior convictions for driving while suspended, revoked or denied. He also has two prior convictions for leaving the scene of a crash.

Prosecutors requested a bond of $250,000 and the case remain under investigation. Prosecutors are trying for the murder charge because they said the crash happened while Stark was committing another felony, evading police. As a back-up they may charge him with involuntary manslaughter and a series of other charges.

No one answered at Stark's address.

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