Crime & Courts

Man jailed in connection with deadly collision with Starkey van

Wichita police investigate after a fatal crash Friday afternoon at the intersection of Newell and Young, involving a Starkey van.
Wichita police investigate after a fatal crash Friday afternoon at the intersection of Newell and Young, involving a Starkey van. The Wichita Eagle

A 56-year-old man with at least three previous DUI convictions has been jailed in connection with a collision that killed two Starkey residents and injured six other people Friday afternoon.

Law enforcement records show Bret Blevins was booked into the Sedgwick County Jail shortly before 3 a.m. on Saturday on suspicion of several offenses connected to the collision at Newell and Young at about 3:45 p.m. on Friday. That’s southwest of Central and West Street in west Wichita.

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Blevins is accused of driving the Cadillac Escalade that ran a stop sign and slammed into the side of the Starkey van, injuring three residents and two staff members. Two of those residents later died from their injuries.

Court records show Blevins had at least three previous DUI convictions – two in 1995 and another in 1996 – as well as a conviction for possession of meth. His driver’s license has been suspended or revoked on numerous occasions.

Blevins was booked into jail on suspicion of two counts of involuntary manslaughter, three counts of aggravated battery linked to driving under the influence and causing great bodily harm, failing to stop after a fatal accident, driving with a suspended license and violating probation, records show.

He is being held on $300,000 bond.

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Blevins allegedly ran from the scene of the collision and hid, but neighbors pointed him out to police officers, who arrested him at 601 N. Anna about two blocks from where the collision occurred.

Police are still investigating how fast the Escalade was traveling when it hit the Starkey van, said police spokeswoman Nikki Woodrow said. The force of the impact pushed the van nearly the length of a block into the yard of a residence.

Dirk MacMillan, 46, died at 6:48 p.m. Friday at Via Christi Hospital-St. Francis, while Leonard Atterbery, 25, who went by “Dusty,” died at 8:50 p.m., records show.

A third Starkey client, a 33-year-old man, remained in critical condition Monday morning, Starkey spokeswoman Jamie Opat said. The driver of the Starkey van was released from the hospital Friday night.

A 30-year-old staff member injured in the collision was in serious condition Monday, Opat said.

A 43-year-old woman who was a passenger in the Escalade remains hospitalized and is stable, Woodrow said. The Escalade belongs to an acquaintance of Blevins.

Three Starkey residents were being driven home from their day program when the collision occurred. The van was traveling north on Young when it was struck on the passenger side by the Escalade, Opat said.

One of the men killed, MacMillan, had been with Starkey since December. The second, Leonard Dustin James Atterbery, 25, had been with Starkey almost five years.

Services for Atterbery will be Saturday at Broadway Mortuary, according to a GoFundMe account set up to help pay for his funeral expenses. As of Monday morning, $433 of the $15,000 sought had been raised.

Blevins has an extensive criminal history, including stealing a 6-foot-tall bronze eagle statue from in front of the Boy Scouts of America Quivira Council building last fall. Kansas Department of Corrections records show Blevins has convictions for burglary, theft, criminal possession of a firearm and drug possession.

Blevins was sentenced to a year of probation for stealing the eagle statue last Sept. 29 and a bronze teeter-totter statue from Auburn Hills golf course two days later. He pleaded guilty to five counts of theft in November.

Under terms of the sentencing in the theft case, Blevins would face 15 months in prison if he violated the terms of the probation.

Contributing: Amy Renee Leiker of The Eagle

Stan Finger: 316-268-6437, @StanFinger

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