Arrest made, charges filed in November 2017 fatality accident

Maria Perez-Marquez

Herald Report

The Omaha, Neb., woman who was involved in a head-on collision in November 2017 on U.S. Highway 75, that killed three members of a Sabetha family has been arrested on multiple charges.

Maria Perez-Marquez, 49, was arrested Thursday, Aug. 23, in Omaha and was taken into custody on a Jackson County District Court warrant in connection with the fatal crash. On Tuesday, Aug. 21, Perez-Marquez was charged with three felony counts of involuntary manslaughter and two felony counts of aggravated battery, as well as a misdemeanor count of reckless driving.

According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, on Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017, Perez-Marquez was driving southbound on U.S. Highway 75 in a 2008 Chevrolet Equinox when she tried to pass another vehicle. At the same time, Carmen Ukele, 42, was northbound on U.S. Highway 75. Both drivers swerved to the shoulder of the highway to avoid colliding, but instead struck head-on.

C. Ukele and two passengers in her vehicle – 11-year-old Marlee Ukele and 62-year-old Stephen Ukele – were killed in the crash. Another passenger, Lee Ukele – husband of C. Ukele – was seriously injured in the wreck. Perez-Marquez and her passenger Rosalao Perez of St. Joseph, Mo., also were injured.

The Ukele family was returning home from Hutchinson after watching the Sabetha High School football team capture the 3A State Championship. C. and L. Ukele’s sons – Tanner and Carson – were members of the team.

An extradition hearing was held Friday, Aug. 24, in Omaha, during which — according to Jackson County Attorney Shawna Miller — Perez-Marquez waived extradition. She was transported to Jackson County Jail on Monday, Aug. 27. As of Tuesday, Aug. 28, it was unclear if a court date had been set.

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The Sabetha Herald has been serving Sabetha since 1876.

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