An El Reno man charged with leaving his young son in a vehicle will stand trial on a charge of second-degree murder.
Canadian County Special District Judge Charles Gass set July 23 as the day Adam Kolar’s trial will begin. The decision came Friday during a preliminary hearing.
Kolar is accused of leaving his 3-year-old son, Ryker inside his pickup that was parked outside of his home. The child was found by a co-worker of Kolar’s and efforts to revive him were unsuccessful. The incident happened Aug. 2, 2018.
Police said Kolar had passed out inside his home after drinking earlier. Tests showed his blood alcohol level to be four times greater than the legal limit.
Kolar’s defense attorney Kendall Sykes sought to have the charge reduced to second-degree manslaughter. Sykes claimed the state did not produce sufficient evidence to prove Kolar was intoxicated at the time Ryker was left in the vehicle. She claimed that though Ryker was thought to have been left in the pickup before 1 p.m., the blood alcohol test wasn’t conducted until 6 p.m. Sykes said also there was insufficient evidence to prove that it was Kolar who left the child in the vehicle.
Sykes also claimed the terms of the state’s charge that Kolar “willfully or maliciously failed or omitted to provide appropriate supervision” to the child were not accurate. The attorney claimed the death was classified by the medical examiner as an accident and that Kolar neither willfully nor maliciously left the child alone to die.
“Second-degree manslaughter would be a more appropriate charge, if the court were to determine any charges warranted at all,” said Sykes.
Neither the judge nor the prosecution would have it.
“He was drunk as a skunk while his kid fried in the car,” said First Assistant District Attorney Eric Epplin.
Gass said the evidence was sufficient for a second-degree murder charge. The July 23 trial is scheduled to be heard by District Judge Paul Hesse.
At Friday’s hearing, Megan Stevens testified Kolar, her now ex-husband, was scheduled to care for Ryker on Thursday, Aug. 2. She had gotten the child ready for the day and then headed off to work, she said. She said she had plans with her friends after work. That evening, she received a call from her neighbors shortly after emergency vehicles arrived at her home.
Nicholas Westbrook testified he had gone to Kolar’s home to help him fix two air conditioners. The two were co-workers at the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution.
Westbrook said it took awhile for Kolar to answer the door. After working on the equipment both inside and outside the residence for about an hour, he said Kolar stopped him and told him that his son was missing. Westbrook said Kolar said the child had been sleeping in his room. The two of them searched through the house, with Westbrook eventually finding the boy inside Kolar’s unlocked truck.
Westbrook became emotional as he recounted unstrapping the lifeless child from the car and screaming for help. He said Kolar appeared dazed and initially took no action. One thing that struck Westbrook was that even though Kolar had been trained in CPR, he did not at first assist in trying to revive Ryker. According to Westbrook, Kolar only began assisting with resuscitation efforts after being directed to by the EMTs.
Before they arrived, Westbrook himself attempted CPR while on the phone with dispatch. The first responders had arrived around 5 p.m.
Westbrook claimed that Kolar smelled of alcohol and exhibited slurred speech for the duration of the visit.
Jared Loggins, one of the responding police officers to the scene, said Kolar refused to submit to a drug recognition test.
The defense questioned Loggins and the next witness, a registered nurse who took Adam Kolar’s blood, about the test itself, questioning whether the blood test kit had expired.
Police Detective Todd Ward said he was the officer who first broke the news of Ryker’s death to his mother. Ward said Kolar had told him he had two mixed vodka drinks on the day of the incident, but Kolar told Loggins that he had actually had four.
Kolar also told Ward about a work bag with a bottle of vodka inside, claiming he believed it was about half full. Ward said that in actuality, the bottle had “less than an eye dropper” of liquid left inside.
Ward said he determined the child had been in the truck since around 1 p.m., unable to unstrap himself from his car seat. The temperature outside was in the 80s that afternoon, intensified by high humidity, Ward said.
Ward said security video had shown Kolar enter Ross Seed at 11 a.m. Kolar claimed the boy was with him in the store, but the footage shows him entering alone.