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Escapee apprehended early Saturday morning
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Atchison County Sheriff’s Office confirmed early Saturday morning, April 24, that Taggart Darnell Lee had been apprehended about 2 a.m., with assistance from the Kansas Highway Patrol and Atchison Police Department.

Lee, 20, was taken into custody for an outstanding Atchison County warrant for aggravated escape from custody and aggravated assault that arose from his escape from custody about 1:20 a.m. Thursday from the Atchison County Jail — where he had been held since Jan. 8 on charges of aggravated robbery in connection with a Dec. 31 incident.

Lee heard the formal charges announced Monday from Atchison County District Court via Zoom platform. Bond is set at $100,000 There crime of aggravated escape from custody is punishable up to a maximum of 46 months in prison. The aggravated assault charges carries a maximum penalty of 34 months.

Clinton Lee, a Lansing-based attorney, was appointed to serve as defense counsel of Lee. Evidentiary hearings for both matters are on the calendar for 1 p.m. Tuesday, May 4 in district court.

Atchison County Sheriff Jack Laurie said in a press release Sunday that it was Friday evening when Sheriff’s Office detectives determined Lee was in the Atchison Area along with a description of the vehicle, a red, Chevrolet 2500 pickup truck he was seen driving based on information obtained from a citizen’s alert. The description was sent out to area law enforcement.

Atchison Police Department authorities located the vehicle within Atchison City limits, Laurie said. A pursuit ensued about 9:36 p.m. on Friday. Sheriff’s Office authorities picked up the pursuit that continued out in the county toward the Farmington community area.

The suspect continued to flee at high speeds, which caused law enforcement to lose sight near Meade and 262nd roads. A CODE RED and social media alerts urged the public to be on the lookout for Chevrolet pickup that Thomas Mclaughlin had earlier reported stolen from his residence near Arrington. Laurie said citizens cooperated and helped pinpoint a location, where the KHP air support unit located the suspect vehicle abandoned in the area of Kiowa and 262nd roads along some former railroad tracks.

Lee fled the scene to a nearby residence, Laurie alleged. It was there where it’s alleged Lee stole another pickup truck, a Ford 250 pickup with a stock trailer attached owned by Scott Fredrick, and then fled the area. A short time later Lee was located after APD authorities located the Fredrick’s stolen pickup in the 800 block of North Fourth Street in Atchison. The Sheriff’s Office detectives had obtained information that connected Lee to a residence in the 800 block of North Fifth Street where APD, KHP and Sheriff’s Office authorities obtained permission to enter residences. There K9 located and apprehended Lee inside a vacant apartment, Laurie said.

Following apprehension, Lee was transported by Sheriff’s Office authorities to Amberwell Medical Center for treatment of superficial wounds he suffered as a result of the K9 apprehension, Laurie said. After Lee was treated and released he was taken to Atchison County Jail and arrested for two counts theft of a motor vehicle; fleeing and attempt to elude law enforcement and burglary of a non-dwelling.

Laurie initially issued a press release Thursday, April 22 about the preliminary investigation that had launched after the escape. Sheriff’s Office administration revealed that several security policies were not followed by jail security staff, which allowed Lee to manipulate a door lock and make his way into an unsecured area of the jail and then outside of the jail. A jail officer chased Lee several blocks from the jail where Lee picked up a 2-by 4-inch piece of lumber and threatened the unarmed jail officer. Law enforcement attempted to set up a perimeter, but could not locate Lee.

As the investigation unfolded, Laurie confirmed to the Atchison Globe that authorities had received information that Lee had been seen in the Arrington vicinity late Thursday night.

Authorities from Kansas Highway Patrol, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, and U.S. Marshals joined Atchison County deputies in the manhunt during the darkness of the night in Arrington. The KHP helicopter was also summoned to assist in the search, but was unable to fly due to the weather, Laurie said.

The search continued on Friday and the Atchison County Sheriff’s office issued an alert about a red Chevroley 2500 believed to be driven by Taggert. The vehicle was located late Friday night near 262th and Kiowa Road, but unoccupied.

It was a few hours later that the Atchison County Sheriff’s Office reported Lee had been taken into custody early Saturday morning.

Laurie conveyed his belief from information obtained in the meantime between the manhunt late Thursday night in Arrington and Lee’s apprehension early Saturday in Atchison that he was in Atchison, but was also seen in other rural areas as well.

In his Sunday press release Laurie apologized to all for the incident and all that subsequently occurred.

“It’s an unfortunate, dangerous and embarrassing event to say the least,” Laurie said. “However, we will learn from it and continue addressing the issues that led to the escape.

Laurie continued “Thank you to everyone who helped with the investigation. We will also review and address the reasonable concerns that the public provided.”


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Regional bus rodeo ready to roll in Effingham
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EFFINGHAM — The public is invited to come and watch a school bus driving competitive showdown this week in Effingham.

The 2021 Regional Driving Competition event is scheduled to begin with registration at 8:30 a.m. The competition starts at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 1 in the Atchison County Junior-Senior High School parking lot, located at 908 Tiger Road in Effingham. The upcoming event is a Kansas State Pupil Transportation Association Regional Safe Driver Competition.

The competition will showcase drivers from across Kansas as they compete for bragging rights and to qualify for June 4 State Driving Competition in Salina. Concessions will be available on site.

The eligible contestants are currently employed or have been employed with the past 12 months as a full-time or substitute school bus driver in the state of Kansas, and registered to compete.

This competition is open to any person who is currently employed or has been employed within the past 12 months as a full-time or substitute school bus driver in the state of Kansas. Contestants shall meet all Kansas school bus driver qualifications in accordance with K.A.R. 91- 38-6. These include: possession of a current and valid Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). Class A, B, or C with Passenger (P) and School Bus (S) endorsements; documentation of physical qualification (“DOT” physical) within the last 2 years; documentation for successful completion and current status of an approved accident prevention course (defensive driving) and an approved first aid/CPR program. Drivers currently residing in a state other than Kansas shall present the appropriate CDL documentation with endorsements within their state of residence. NOTE: Drivers’ qualifications for competition shall be checked during the registration procedures. At no time will a driver be allowed to compete in more than one official regional competition and one official state competition during the calendar year. You may download the Safety Competition Book and study guide at: http://www.ksde.org or www.kspta.net.

Categories are Rookie or Experienced; and bus types include: conventional, transit or mini bus.

For more information about the event or registration contact USD 377 Transportation Director Dwight Myer via email at myer.dwight@usd377. org.


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Sheriff Jack Laurie's response to ongoing civil litigation with City of Atchison
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(Editor’s note: On Dec. 19, 2020, City Attorney Robert Campbell filed a writ of mandamus in Atchison County District Court compelling Sheriff Jack Laurie to accept all inmates committed to him by police to the Atchison County Jail in support of Kansas Statute 60-801. The civil action relates to an inmate police arrested Dec. 18, 2020 while in a naked and intoxicated condition. The mandamus alleges the jail captain refused to accept the subject in custody as an inmate in the facility. Police transported the subject to the Doniphan County Jail. The city is seeking judgment for damages that include court costs, attorney fees related to the subject’s incarceration at a jail facility outside of Atchison County. It was on Dec. Dec. 21, 2020 that District Court Judge Martin Asher signed a court order for Laurie to accept the inmate initially refused into custody at Atchison County Jail. The matter is scheduled for a pre-trial conference Monday, Oct. 18 in district court. Sheriff Laurie has since filed a counterclaim against the city. The following is Sheriff Jack Laurie’s response to Atchison City Manager Becky Berger’s press release pertaining to the counterclaim.)

“Atchison City Manager Becky Berger has admitted that she never directed that an investigation occur before ordering what she now describes as a relatively simple lawsuit be filed against me (Jack Laurie), using YOUR tax dollars to do so.

When asked in her sworn deposition why she did not communicate with me prior to suing me Berger said, ‘is there a requirement to do that?’ If her lawsuit was truly a relatively simple lawsuit, maybe the professional courtesy of a phone call or a simple letter laying out her claims might have been considered.

Becky is in no position to blame me for litigation expenses, as the attorney who filed the lawsuit is already on the City of Atchison’s payroll. If, City Attorney Robert Campbell were not competent enough to litigate a lawsuit that he filed under her direction, perhaps she should have explored other options. Alternatively, maybe she should have consulted with her Elected City Commissioners, as a whole, as a fiscally responsible City Manager would do. I have good reason to believe that all members of the City Commission were not even made aware of the lawsuit until after it was filed. Now because of her actions, Atchison County taxpayers, including those who live in the City, will bear the cost of her inexperience in oversight of the police department.

Having sued me as a county official, did she really expect me not to defend the lawsuit by telling the Sheriff’s/Atchison County’s side of the lawsuit? The truth is, for years I asked that the City of Atchison do its job by implementing effective procedures to make clear that when their police officers arrest individuals, they cannot dump them at the county jail if and/or when they need immediate medical attention. The City is trying to dump their obligations regarding the proper care and treatment of persons in their custody, on the Sheriff and County. The Atchison County jail is not a medical facility!

While claiming to abide by the law, the Atchison Police Department’s standard operating procedures on these issues have not been updated since 2003, and have never been subjected to external legal review for legal compliance. Police Chief Mike Wilson admitted that in his own deposition. Never has the Atchison police department been audited for legal compliance, Berger separately admitted.

I was employed by the City of Atchison in its police department for a number of years. At no time during my tenure did Chief Wilson ever provide training for me or my colleagues on our obligations under federal law to determine whether someone we had in our custody was fit for confinement in the county jail before we take them there. Now, seeing the conduct of Atchison police officers from the other side because I am now in charge of the county jail, their misconduct is apparent. Unfortunately, the misconduct has continued even during the pendency of Mrs. Berger’s lawsuit.

In other instances, City police will “un-arrest” suspects in their custody to avoid their obligation to seek medical care for those persons. That is a separate violation of state law. If you go to the trouble of arresting persons, the sudden decision to unarrest them when you see that they need medical attention is profoundly suspicious, not to mention dangerous. It happens quite frequently with the Atchison Police Department and dispatch records demonstrate this.

Taxpayers expect the law enforcement community to comply with law not ignore it and that includes the Atchison Police Department. If someone has been arrested and has serious medical needs, dumping them at the jail and being indifferent to their medical needs is unlawful, and is an invitation to lawsuits from those individuals. As Sheriff, I am obligated to protect Atchison County and the Sheriff’s Office from such lawsuits. Now that the City has acted precipitously, to retaliate against me for exposing its conduct, it seems proper to make a public record of the evidence for the entire community to evaluate on its own. That, apparently, has Ms. Berger worried for the first time about her lawsuit’s expenses. I suspect it is not the expense that truly has her worried.

Please let me remind you, this lawsuit was filed roughly 45 days after my successful November 2020 re-election campaign. A political campaign that the City Manager allowed city employees to use city resources, vehicles, tax dollars, and their official position titles to campaign against me in the sheriff election. Why are your tax dollars being wasted and used for political purposes?”


A bus driver travels her route on the first day of in-person instruction September 17 at Owasso schools.


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City Manager Becky Berger responds to ongoing litigation with Sheriff Jack Laurie
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(Editor’s note: On Dec. 19, 2020, City Attorney Robert Campbell filed a writ of mandamus in Atchison County District Court compelling Sheriff Jack Laurie to accept all inmates committed to him by police to the Atchison County Jail in support of Kansas Statute 60-801. The civil action relates to an inmate police arrested Dec. 18, 2020 while in a naked and intoxicated condition. The mandamus alleges the jail captain refused to accept the subject in custody as an inmate in the facility. Police transported the subject to the Doniphan County Jail. The city is seeking judgment for damages that include court costs, attorney fees related to the subject’s incarceration at a jail facility outside of Atchison County. It was on Dec. Dec. 21, 2020 that District Court Judge Martin Asher signed a court order for Laurie to accept the inmate initially refused into custody at Atchison County Jail. The matter is scheduled for a pre-trial conference Monday, Oct. 18 in district court. Sheriff Laurie has since filed a counterclaim against the city. The following is a press release issued from Atchison City Manager Becky Berger’s pertaining to the counterclaim.)

In response to the Sheriff’s repeated unlawful refusal to accept detainees arrested by the Atchison Police Department, the City filed a lawsuit against Sheriff Jack Laurie last December, to force the Atchison County Jail to accept a prisoner. The case was filed in Atchison County District Court and the Court agreed with the City, ordering Jack Laurie to “accept” the detainee “into his custody” on December 21, 2021. Prior to the order, the prisoner had been housed in the Doniphan County Jail, at taxpayer expense, where the Doniphan County Sheriff accepted the prisoner without any of the objections which had been raised in Atchison County.

Sheriff Laurie, however, filed a countersuit alleging that Atchison Police routinely violate constitutional rights of detainees by failing to administer to their medical needs. While these allegations are completely groundless, they have converted a relatively simple dispute into expensive litigation. The Sheriff’s baseless claims have resulted in a growing legal bill that has exceeded $30,000 to date. Every request to mediate the dispute has been rejected or ignored by the Sheriff.

“This legal expense is totally unnecessary. The initial lawsuit simply asked the Court to decide whether Sheriff Laurie had the legal right to reject the prisoner. He had no such right,” attorney Curt Tideman said. “Sheriff Laurie is now asking the Court to determine the constitutional rights of numerous detainees who never claimed that their rights were violated. It’s a shameful waste of public funds but the City has no real choice but to defend itself against this frivolous case. Fortunately, there are Kansas statutes, backed up by case law, permitting the City to claim the fees they are spending due to Sheriff Laurie’s actions if, as I expect, his claims are rejected.”

“We have limited resources and too many needs as it is,” City Manager Becky Berger said. “Every dollar we spend on this litigation is a dollar that can’t go toward streets or sidewalks or to improve our parks. The loser in all of this is the city taxpayers, who are also county taxpayers.”


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Missouri rollover claims Atchison man
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WINTHROP, Mo. – A 49-year-old Atchison man suffered fatal injuries as the result of a single vehicle rollover accident Monday night about a mile east of Atchison along U.S. Highway 59 in Buchanan County, Missouri.

Christopher E. Harvey was pronounced dead at the accident scene, the Missouri State Highway Patrol reports.

The crash occurred about 8:40 p.m. as Harvey drove a 1989 GMC Sierra pickup truck northbound along U.S. Highway 59 in easterly direction. The vehicle traveled off along the south side of the roadway, then vaulted from a field entrance and became airborne. The truck struck the ground and overturned. Harvey was ejected through the rear window. The truck overturned again, an unknown number of times and came to rest atop the ground facing west, MSHP reported. Harvey was not wearing a seat belt.

Buchanan County Sheriff’s Office and Rushville Fire Department assisted at the scene.


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