• Last modified 989 days ago (Sept. 9, 2021)


No charging decisions yet on wreck, fight, open meeting dispute

Staff writer

County attorney Joel Ensey still has not decided what, if any, charges to file after a July 4 accident with a side-by-side all-terrain vehicle that seriously injured a Marion man.

When police submitted a probable cause affidavit to the county attorney Aug. 9, they recommended charges of reckless driving, driving too fast for conditions, and reckless aggravated battery against the driver, Marion resident Russell Hake.

Hake was driving a 2020 Polaris RZR that overturned into a ditch on Kellison St. east of Coble St. Passenger Todd Winter, pinned beneath the Polaris, was rushed to Wesley Medical Center, Wichita.

The accident was investigated starting the following day by assistant police chief Steve Janzen, not by the officer who responded to the accident that night.

At the scene of the accident, officer Zach Hudlin thought Winter had been driving. Police did not learn Hake had been driving until the next day when they went to Hake’s home to get insurance information on the Polaris, which was owned by Hake’s son.

Soon after getting the probable cause affidavit, Ensey said he hadn’t thoroughly read the report and would want to talk to Winter before deciding on charges. The county attorney has now spoken with Winter but has not made a decision.

Ensey also has made no decision whether to file charges in a July 14 fight at the property of his brother, Jeremy Ensey. Police said little about the fight at the time, but Jeremy Ensey was not involved in the matter.

The county attorney also has made no progress on possible violations of state open meetings law by the Burns city council. State law requires the county attorney to investigate alleged violations of the open meeting law.

Ruckuses at meetings resulted in a sheriff’s deputy being summoned and the city police chief clearing the room.Ensey said more than two months ago that he needed to talk to people at Burns.

The open meetings law presents a wide array of remedies ranging from requiring council members to get training in open meetings law to fining them for each violation of the law.

Last modified Sept. 9, 2021