A 23-year-old Kansas City man has been charged in the September hit-and-run crash that killed 31-year-old Valeria Villa-Alvarado, a school secretary at East High School in Kansas City.
Jackson County prosecutors have charged Arnold L. King II with first-degree involuntary manslaughter, leaving the scene of a fatal crash and tampering with a motor vehicle.
Villa-Alvarado was killed in a crash that occurred about 6:20 a.m. Sept. 17 at the intersection of East 12th Street and Bales Avenue. Two young children, 4 and 10 years old, were taken to a hospital with injuries that were not life threatening.
According to court documents, Kansas City police officers on patrol near Independence and Cypress avenues spotted a gray Saturn Vue parked in an area known as a high prostitution and narcotics area. They conducted a computer check on the vehicle’s license plate.
As officers were waiting for the check to be completed, the driver in the Vue took off at high speeds. A dispatcher then told officers that the SUV was stolen.
From a distance, officers saw the vehicle turn west on East 9th Street and continue at a high speed. They then saw it weave in and out of on-coming lanes of traffic until it crested a hill at Cleveland Avenue. Officers lost sight of the vehicle.
Within minutes, officers were dispatched to East 12th Street and Bales Avenue on reports of a fatal hit-and-run crash involving the SUV. Crash investigators determined that the SUV was traveling southbound on Bales at high speeds when it ran a stop sign and struck the driver’s side door of a Hyundai Sonata driven by Villa-Alvarado, who died at the scene.
Villa-Alvarado was a beloved school secretary at East High School, Kansas City Public Schools posted to its Facebook page. She had been with the school district for four years, starting in transportation and helping families navigate their bus routes. In 2018, she moved to East High School.
Investigators confirmed that the SUV had been reported stolen out of Overland Park and according to Overland Park police, King was listed as a suspect in the vehicle’s theft.
The driver of the SUV and a passenger fled from the crash. While canvassing the area, police found the passenger who was bleeding from the right knee cap and had lacerations on both legs. The passenger said the injuries were from being thrown from a moving car.
But at the hospital, the passenger allegedly admitted to working as a prostitute in the area and was picked up by man in an SUV. Upon seeing a marked police car, the driver drove away at high speeds.
During their investigation, detectives received numerous anonymous tips saying that King was driving the SUV at the time of the crash and that he had gone to the University of Kansas Health System to be treated for his injuries. He allegedly left after they told him they had to call police.
King allegedly changed his appearance by cutting his hair and was bragging about not getting caught, according to court documents.