WICHITA — A deadly traffic accident resulting in the arrest of a Wichita doctor was caused by a stroke, the physician’s lawyer said today.
Mohammad Sarrafizadeh, 67, had been arrested the day after his car struck and killed 31-year-old lawn service worker Ramon Martinez-Limon the morning of June 10. Circumstances surrounding the death shocked the community, after police said the doctor apparently drove for three miles with the man’s body on top of his van after crashing into him on Greenwich Road near Douglas.
Today, Wichita lawyer Dan Monnat, who represents Sarrafizadeh, said the stroke left the doctor unaware an accident had occurred.
“The medical evidence and testing of four independent Kansas doctors now clearly establish that,” Monnat said in a statement released by his office. “The condition left Dr. Sarrafizadeh so disoriented and confused that he turned around and drove home not even realizing he had been involved in an accident.”
Sarrafizdeh had been driving his 22-year-old daughter, who is severely disabled, to her special needs school the morning of the accident, Monnat said. The stroke also forced the radiologist to retire his position at the VA Medical Center.
“Dr. Sarrafizadeh did not consciously drive in an unsafe manner,” Monnat said. “He suffered a medical condition that caused the accident. It rendered him incapable of even understanding that an accident had occurred. Otherwise, as he has done with veterans and others his whole life, Dr. Sarrafizadeh would have done everything possible to render immediate aid to Mr. Martinez-Limon.”
A spokeswoman with the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s office said formal charges against the doctor had not yet been filed.
Last June, police said Martinez-Limon had been working near the street when a minivan struck him on Greenwich Road near Douglas around 7:15 a.m. that Friday near a Hawker Beechcraft plant entrance. Martinez-Limon was apparently thrown onto the roof of the vehicle. Witnesses saw the minivan driving with the victim on the roof and called 911, police said, adding that someone followed the vehicle to Sarrafizdeh’s house in the 1500 block of North Krug, near 13th and 127th Street East.
“The sincere condolences and prayers of Dr. Sarrafizadeh and his family go out to the family of Mr. Martinez-Limon,” Monnat said. “This was a tragic accident.”
The Wichita Eagle / Kansas.com
BY RON SYLVESTER