Prosecutors charge teen in crash that killed bystander during Kansas City police pursuit

Jackson County prosecutors have charged a 19-year-old with two felonies, including manslaughter, in the death of a bystander killed during a Kansas City police pursuit in March 2022.

Karam R. Jackson, of Independence, is accused of involuntary manslaughter and eluding police in the death of 38-year-old Erika Miller. Jackson was being held Friday in the county jail on a $75,000 bond.

On March 23, 2022, around 5 p.m., Kansas City police officers spotted a Dodge Caliber that had been reported stolen in an armed carjacking six days earlier. They attempted to pull the car over near East 45th Street and Cleveland Avenue, according to court documents.

The driver, later identified by police as Jackson, fled at high speed, going through red lights, stop signs and in the wrong direction of traffic, nearly striking other vehicles, as Kansas City officers pursued, according to an affidavit by a police detective.

The pursuit continued on Truman Road, where the fleeing driver dodged stop sticks, and continued west toward Indiana Avenue, according to police. At Prospect Avenue the car struck a zTrip ride-hailing van, in which Miller was a passenger.

Miller, of Kansas City, was ejected from the van. She was taken to the hospital and pronounced dead shortly after arriving there.

Jackson and a youth who was in the passenger seat were taken to the hospital after the crash and treated for injuries.

The following day, Jackson, who was 17 years old at the time, was interviewed by detectives. He said he was not aware police were trying to pull him over, according to court documents, and that he purchased the car days earlier with cash.

Criminal charges against Jackson were initially brought by the Office of the Juvenile Officer, which acts as a prosecutor in youth crime cases, and he was ordered held in custody. Records show the 19-year-old was since charged in two separate Clay County offenses that included alleged traffic violations and resisting or interfering with a felony arrest.

Jackson made his initial appearance on the newly filed charges on Friday. Court records did not list a defense attorney representing him in the case.