Fort Riley Soldier Sentenced For Deadly Suicide Attempt

A Fort Riley Soldier charged with second degree murder was sentenced in Geary County Court Tuesday to  117 months, or 9 years and 9 months with the Kansas Department Corrections.

Gary Nelson (22) of Junction City, entered a no contest plea in September to charges of second-degree murder and reckless driving. Nelson reportedly told state troopers he intended to commit suicide by running into a semi truck on Interstate 70 in April, but lost his nerve.

Jake Black (53) of Manhattan was a passenger in a GMC utility vehicle that swerved out of Nelson’s way. The car rolled down an embankment, killing black and injuring the driver and another passenger.

According to Geary County Attorney, Steve Opat, a suggestion surfaced that Nelson should receive a similar sentence to one that a K-State graduate student received earlier this year. Miles Theurer (24) was responsible for a head-on collision that killed an Ogden couple in May of 2012. The state requested that Theurer receive prison time, but Riley County District Court Judge John Bosh granted departure over the state and ultimately sentenced Theurer to just 60 days in county jail.

In the end, any reference to the Theurer case had no bearing on Nelson’s sentencing.

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A story posted by KMAN on April 4th regarding the deadly, head-on collision is listed below:

More details were released just before noon Thursday regarding a fatal accident involving a law enforcement pursuit, KMAN news first told you about early in the morning.

A news release from the Kansas Highway patrol indicates On Wednesday at approximately 10:30 p.m., a trooper observed a vehicle travelling the wrong direction on I-70 near Grandview Plaza. The trooper attempted to stop the vehicle, and a chase ensued.

During the pursuit, a GMC utility vehicle with three occupants steered away from the fleeing vehicle, resulting in them entering a south ditch. The GMC rolled and came to rest on an access road south of I-70.

The Dickinson County Sheriff’s Department assisted the Patrol by shutting down I-70 eastbound at the Abilene exit. As the fleeing vehicle approached the area near the Chapman exit, it slowed, and the driver, identified as Fort Riley soldier Gary Nelson, 22, drove into the median and stopped.

The driver surrendered to law enforcement and was taken into custody without incident. Troopers returned to the crash scene of the GMC that had been forced from the roadway, to assist emergency medical personnel who had been dispatched to the scene.

All occupants were transported to Geary Community Hospital to be treated for their injuries. One occupant, identified earlier as Jake Black, 53, of Manhattan, sustained fatal injuries as a result of the crash.

The KHP Critical Highway Accident Response Team (C.H.A.R.T.) was activated to investigate the crash.

Nelson was transported to the Geary County Jail, with pending charges from the Geary County Attorney’s Office.