Court documents detail fiery crash that killed Dep. Brandon Collins, suspected drunk driver’s admissions to investigators
Posted 3:55 pm, September 19, 2016, by Andrew Lynch, Updated at 06:45pm, September 19, 2016
OLATHE, Kan. -- An affidavit released Monday says a suspected drunk driver's blood alcohol content was twice the legal limit when he allegedly slammed into a sheriff's office patrol car the morning of September 11, causing a fiery crash that killed Johnson County Master Deputy Brandon Collins.
Master Deputy Brandon Collins
Suspect Adrian Espinosa-Flores faces charges of DUI involuntary manslaughter and leaving the scene the scene of an accident. The affidavit says that when officers arrived to the crash scene at about 1:40 a.m., there were flames extending 30 feet into the air, and it appeared the driver of a Ford F-250 had pushed Deputy Collins' patrol unit into an SUV he had pulled over while the deputy was still inside the car.
More officers arrived to the crash scene to look for the driver of the Ford truck who had run away. Using a helicopter, canine units, and information from a nearby homeowner, officers eventually found Espinosa-Flores near an overpass at 69 Highway and W. 139th Street.
Investigators determined the truck was registered to him and performed field sobriety tests, which he failed, and a preliminary breath test revealed his BAC was .160.
Espinosa-Flores was arrested and agreed to speak with investigators. He said he was headed home to Kansas City, Kan., from Belton, Mo., after drinking four beers at a friend's house. He said he knew he had crashed, but didn't know what kind of car he hit, and said he got out of his truck because he felt like he was on fire. He said he ran from the crash scene without checking on anyone else involved.
Adrian Espinosa-Flores' booking photo from the Johnson County Detention Center.
He also told investigators that he has no legal status in the United States, and had illegally entered the country. Immigration Customs Enforcement has placed a detainer on him, and he faces possible deportation following the outcome of his manslaughter case.
ICE provided this statement to FOX 4 last week:
“On Sept. 12, ICE placed a detainer on Adrian Espinosa-Flores with the Johnson County (Kansas) jail following his recent arrest on local charges. ICE records do not show a prior immigration encounter with Mr. Espinosa-Flores, or that ICE was notified following his previous encounters with local law enforcement in California in 2001, and again in Kansas in 2013. Based on initial criminal records checks, Mr. Espinosa-Flores is an ICE enforcement priority due to a prior DUI conviction in California from 2001. Mr. Espinosa-Flores is still in local custody."
Espinosa-Flores is in jail on a $2 million bond, and is due back in a Johnson County courtroom on Thursday.
Kansas Sheriff's Deputy Killed in Fiery Crash Robert A. Cronkleton On Sep 11, 2016
Source: The Kansas City Star
Master Deputy Brandon Collins
Photo credit: Johnson County Sheriff's Department
OVERLAND PARK, Kansas -- Just hours after celebrating his daughter’s fourth birthday, a Johnson County Sheriff’s deputy with nearly 21 years on the job died in a fiery crash early Sunday when a suspected drunken driver slammed the rear of his patrol car while the officer conducted a traffic stop.
Master Deputy Brandon Collins had pulled over a vehicle about 1:30 a.m. on northbound U.S. 69 near West 143rd Street, according to Darla Jaye, public information officer for the sheriff’s office.
Within minutes of the stop, a pickup truck slammed into the back of the patrol car, engulfing it in flames. The sound of the impact woke up nearby residents with what some said sounded as loud as thunder.
The driver of the truck ran from the scene. Police dogs brought to the area captured a suspect a short time later. He was taken to a hospital for treatment of injuries.
Collins, 45, would have celebrated his 21st anniversary with the department next month, Jaye said. He’s married and has two daughters.
“He was very much loved,” Jaye said. “He’s worked in several different areas of the sheriff’s office over the years. …
“He was kind, fair and funny,” she said. “He never met anyone who didn’t become a quick friend.”
Over the years, Collins worked detention, narcotics and most recently the uniformed patrol division, which was described as a very tight-knit group.
“Brandon was a very vibrant type of person,” said Johnson County Sheriff Frank Denning. “He didn’t know a stranger and a stranger got to know him fairly well.”
Collins had a great family, Denning said, and he was dedicated to his law enforcement work.
“He was one of those guys you just liked to be around, whether he was a personal friend or a professional friend,” Denning said. “For me, he was just an outstanding deputy sheriff. His job, his life, his family — all of those things were first. That’s the hardest part this morning.”
Denning attended a First Responder’s Day Sunday morning at the College Church of the Nazarene in Olathe. The church held a ceremony to honor those serving the community and the nation in remembrance of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. They honored Collins during the ceremony.
“The significance of all this is that he was out doing his job as a first responder this morning,” Denning said. “We were here today not knowing that we would be celebrating his life as well and being recognized as a first responder for his contributions to the community.”
The church honored Collins with its first memorial coins. Olathe had also declared Sunday as First Responder Appreciation Day. The coin and proclamation were being passed on to Collins’ family.