UPDATE: Family, friends hold vigil for victim of fatal hit-and-run crash

By: KAKE News - Email
By: KAKE News - Email
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Three people were killed and two others injured after an SUV collided with a car in west Wichita early Sunday.

Vehicle hit in fatal accident.

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WICHITA, Kan. — Each holding a candle in their hands, family and friends of Jake Hallacy celebrated the 26-year-old's life by coming to his favorite place, a pond behind his home.

"Jake was an outdoorsman. He loved being outside. He loved hanging out with people at the pond," said Arlie Sesker, Hallacy's cousin.

She was devastated when she learned he and his friends had been killed by a man police say had been drinking while driving.

"I couldn't believe it," Sesker said. "I still can't believe it."

She says if there's anything to learn from all of this, it's the importance of not getting behind the wheel under the influence.

"I really don't think people understand the impact it can have in your life as well as the life of someone else," Sesker said. "You just shouldn't do it. Call a designated driver, and if you don't have one, don't do it, it's not worth losing your life or taking the life of someone else."

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A memorial fund has been set up for two of the victims of the fatal hit-and-run crash in Wichita over the weekend.

Family and friends of Jake Hallacy are asking people to donate to the Jake Hallacy Memorial Fund. Money raised will help pay for funeral costs. For more information, Click here

A fundraising event for the families of Jake Hallacy and another victim, Zack Taylor, is also scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 2, at Spirits Pub in Valley Center. All door fees will go toward their families.

A memorial fundraiser has also been set up for Taylor. More on that fund can be found by clicking here.

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Wichita Police have released the identities of three people who were killed in a hit-and-run crash early Sunday.

The crash happened around 2 a.m. Sunday near Maple and Tracy when a eastbound Ford Expedition that police say was speeding ran a red light and hit a Chevrolet sedan. Three of the people inside the sedan were pronounced dead at the scene, two of whom had been ejected.

Monday morning, police identified the victims as:

Zachery Taylor, 26, of Valley Center
Jake Hallacy, 26, of Valley Center
Emily Phillips, 21, of McPherson

The front seat passenger has been treated and released from a local hospital and the driver is still hospitalized.

Police say the driver of the SUV ran from the scene, but was arrested hours later at a home in the 4400 block of South Victoria. He's been identified as Juan Gandara-Rodel, 31. He was booked around 9 a.m. Sunday for three counts of second-degree murder, two counts of aggravated battery, failure to stop at an accident, reckless driving and disobeying traffic control. Police say alcohol was also apparently involved.

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Three people are dead and two others injured, after a truck collided with a car in west Wichita.

It happened shortly after 2 a.m. Sunday morning at the intersection of Maple and Tracy.

Sgt. Jim Merrick says a white Ford Expedition heading eastbound on Maple ran a red light striking the side of a Chevrolet containing 5 people heading northbound on Tracy.

Three out of the five people were ejected from the Chevrolet and pronounced dead on the scene. The driver was in critical condition and the front passenger in serious condition. Both were strapped in and had to be cut free and were rushed to the hospital.

The driver of the Expedition, a man in his 30's, ran southeast from Tracy. He was found a short time later and is now in police custody.

The victim's names have yet to be released and police are still notifying family.

Friends of the victims were at the scene of the accident Sunday afternoon laying down flowers and a homemade cross made out of a fishing pole.

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