Omaha woman charged in Ukele deaths

An Omaha, Neb. woman has been charged in Jackson County District Court with three felony counts of involuntary manslaughter in the November 2017 deaths of three members of a Sabetha family in a traffic accident on U.S. Highway 75 in northern Jackson County, according to charges filed by Jackson County Attorney Shawna Miller.

Maria D. Perez-Marquez, 48, was also charged with two felony counts of aggravated battery and one misdemeanor count of reckless driving in connection with the accident, in which Carmen K. Ukele, 42, Marlee G. Ukele, 11, and Stephen M. Ukele, 62, all of Sabetha, died.

Hearing dates in Jackson County District Court are pending for Perez-Marquez, who was driving a 2008 Chevrolet Equinox SUV south on U.S. 75 at about 8:05 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017, when she attempted to pass another vehicle about a mile north of the junction of U.S. 75 and Kansas Highway 9 near Netawaka.

The Equinox crossed the center line into the path of a 2008 Chrysler Town and Country minivan driven north on U.S. 75 by Carmen Ukele. Both vehicles reportedly swerved to the same shoulder to avoid a collision but struck each other head-on and came to a rest on the east shoulder, it was reported.

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