Wichita man gets life in prison for fatal police chase

By: KAKE News -
By: KAKE News -

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A Wichita man has been sentenced to life in prison in connection to a police chase that left another man dead.

Officers were already searching for 35-year-old Keith Ritz when he led them on a chase in March 2013. Ritz was in a stolen truck when he ran from police, and the chase ended when he crashed into another truck near Wichita Street and Harry. The driver of the other truck, 39-year-old Venancio Perez-Najera, died in the crash.

Police had already been looking for Ritz because he led them on a similar chase in a stolen vehicle in December 2012. In that case, the chase ended when Ritz crashed into a light pole at Harry and Rock Road. The Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office tried to locate Ritz for two weeks after he was released from the hospital, but were unable to find him.

He was arrested after the March crash, and convicted by a jury earlier this year of first degree felony murder, four counts of felony flee and elude and two counts of theft. Ritz also pleaded guilty to two counts of driving while a habitual violator prior to the trial.

On Thursday, Sedgwick County District Judge David Kaufman sentenced Ritz to life in prison.

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