Man pleads no contest in  2017 crash that killed 4 motorcyclists near Ogallala

Jeser Cisneros-Hernandez, center, looks on during a hearing in Keith County District Court Tuesday morning. He pleaded no contest to an amended count of motor vehicle homicide in connection with a 2017 vehicle-motorcycle crash outside Ogallala that killed four people. Seated to the right of Cisneros-Hernandez is his attorney, Gary J. Krajewski. To Cisneros-Hernandez’s left is a court-appointed interpreter. 

OGALLALA — A 24-year-old Kansas man was sentenced to four years probation on Friday morning in connection with a 2017 vehicle-motorcycle crash that killed four people.

Jeser I. Cisneros-Hernandez was also ordered to serve 400 hours of community service as part of the sentence handed down by Judge Michael Piccolo in Keith County District Court.

Cisnernos-Hernandez had been scheduled to be sentenced on April 3, but the case was continued to Friday. Cisneros-Hernandez was out on bail at the time and living in Kansas. Travel restrictions due to the coronavirus were noted in the motion to continue the case at the time.

Cisneros-Hernandez pleaded no contest on Feb. 4 to one amended felony charge of motor vehicle homicide that covers all four victims.

The plea agreement came the day his trial was to have begun. He initially was charged with four counts of motor vehicle homicide, and three counts were dropped in the plea agreement.

Cisneros-Hernandez could have been sentenced to up to three years in prison under the felony guidelines with a post-release supervision term of 18 months. A fine of up to $10,000 could have been imposed as well.

The trial had been continued five times before the plea agreement, the last coming on a Dec. 5 motion. Hernandez’s trial was initially set for July 2018 but subsequently was continued to dates in April, August, October and December of 2019.

According to court documents, the 2002 Ford Escape he was driving on July 1, 2017, crossed the center line on U.S. Highway 26, near mile marker 136 just outside Ogallala, and struck a pair of motorcycles.

Four people died: Sheila Matheny, 54, and James Matheny, 61, both of Bedford, Iowa; and Michal Weese, 58, and Jerolyn Weese, 59, both of Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Cisneros-Hernandez told investigators he was traveling on about an hour of sleep after his work shift in Sidney, Montana, and was heading home to Liberal, Kansas.

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