First-degree murder charges filed in death of Graciela Olivas - WFSB 3 Connecticut

First-degree murder charges filed in death of Graciela Olivas

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Graciela Olivas and family Graciela Olivas and family
Christopher Stewart Christopher Stewart
KANSAS CITY, KS (KCTV) -

Wyandotte County District Attorney Jerome Gorman announced Thursday afternoon that he has filed a first-degree murder charge against a man who fatally struck a woman with the vehicle he was driving during a police chase.

Christopher Bradley Stewart, 28, of KCK is being held on a $1 million bond. He will make his first court appearance on Friday.

Stewart struck a car being driven by Graciela Olivas. She was the mother of KCTV5 reporter Sandra Olivas, two sons who are area firefighters and a second daughter, who is a nursing student.

Funeral services for Graciela Olivas will be Saturday. Friends and family gathered Thursday night at the crash scene for a candlelight vigil. A prayer was said and many tears shed.

Fernando Esquivel, the victim's nephew, said the family is united in grief and disbelief.

"It still hasn't even sunk in yet. We lost her so suddenly," he said.

Gorman said he filed first-degree murder because Stewart committed a felony by fleeing from police, who attempted to stop him for committing traffic violations after leaving an area known for its drug activity.

In addition, Stewart faces charges of fleeing and interfering with a law enforcement officer. Stewart also is being held on an arrest warrant after he failed to appear for a hearing in an unrelated case.

Family friend Elva Hernandez hopes for the maximum sentence possible.

"It's not going to take our pain away. He's going to deserve what he gets and it'll probably never be enough for what he's done to us," Hernandez said.

The family says Graciela Olivas was a beautiful person inside and out. They said they appreciate the outpouring of support.

"Chela will be remembered for her bright smile and big red kisses," her obituary says. "She was a hard worker, devoted mother and proud grandmother. She opened her home and heart to all who needed help and never turned away friends or family in need."

The Kansas Highway Patrol continues to investigate the crash and is asking for the public's help.

They are seeking drivers who were in the area of 34th Street and Shawnee Drive at the time of the crash. One pulled to the side of the road as Stewart's vehicle approached. Two others stopped on 34th Street facing south. Troopers have identified the occupants of one vehicle but need help finding the occupants of the other two vehicles.

If you have any information, call KHP at 913-782-8100.

Stewart's family issued a statement to the Olivas family Friday.

"It is most important for us as a family to express our deepest sympathy to the Olivas family," the statement read. "Words cannot express the heartache we feel for the loss of our loved one and our hearts go out to the family and friends who are grieving the loss of Graciela Olivas. Please know that your family is in our hearts and prayers."

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