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Once thought to be a passenger, driver in fatal wreck sentenced

Dakota James, Hutchinson, was sentenced Friday to 36 months of confinement following his convictions for involuntary manslaughter. Before announcing the sentence, Barton County District Judge Mike Keeley denied James’s motion for a probation sentence.
James was convicted in November 2016 following his plea to the involuntary manslaughter charge. He was the driver of a truck that left the roadway of SE 70 Road at the Barton-Stafford county line on May 15, 2016. The vehicle overturned at least twice and came to rest on its top. A passenger, 20-year-old Jacok Kinney, was ejected from the truck and suffered fatal injuries.
According to a press release from Barton County Attorney Amy Mellor, evidence presented at a separate hearing showed that James, who was also 20 years old at the time, was the driver of the vehicle although he told investigating deputies that Kinney was the driver. The investigation also revealed that alcohol may have been a contributing factor in the accident.
James will serve his confinement with the Kansas Department of Corrections. He was also ordered to serve 30 days of confinement on a separate conviction of providing false information to the investigating deputies.
Agencies involved in the investigation were the Barton County Sheriff’s Office and Kansas Bureau of Investigation. Douglas Matthews prosecuted the case for the Barton County Attorney’s Office.