Crime & Courts

Criminal charges filed in Starkey crash that killed two

An Escalade and Starkey van collided in west Wichita on May 6, killing two Starkey clients.
An Escalade and Starkey van collided in west Wichita on May 6, killing two Starkey clients. The Wichita Eagle

Sedgwick County prosecutors on Friday filed two charges of involuntary manslaughter against the man linked to a collision in west Wichita that killed two Starkey clients earlier this month.

Bret Blevins, 56, is also facing four counts of aggravated battery in connection with the May 6 crash, one count of leaving the scene of an accident and one count of driving with a suspended or canceled license.

The collision killed Dirk MacMillan, 46, and Leonard “Dusty” Atterbery, 25, both of whom were residents of Starkey Inc., which provides housing, day services and transportation to people with mental disabilities.

The involuntary manslaughter charges accuse Blevins of killing two people while driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, according to the charging document filed in the case. He’s accused in the aggravated battery counts of causing “great bodily harm to another person or disfigurement” to four other people while driving intoxicated.

The other counts allege Blevins fled from a fatal accident, knowing or having reason to believe someone was injured or killed, and that he wasn’t a properly licensed driver at the time.

Police say Blevins drove a borrowed Cadillac Escalade and ran a stop sign before broadsiding a Starkey van at the intersection of Young and Newell at about 3:45 p.m. on May 6.

The collision killed Dirk MacMillan, 46, and Leonard “Dusty” Atterbery, 25, both of whom were residents of Starkey Inc. Starkey owns 42 homes in the Wichita area and provides day services and transportation to people with mental disabilities.

Three other people in the van were injured in the collision.

If convicted, Bret Blevins faces up to 14 years, four months in prison on each of the involuntary manslaughter charges.

The van was taking three of its residents home from its day program when the crash occurred. The 33-year-old Starkey client who survived remains hospitalized in fair condition, Starkey spokeswoman Jamie Opat said, but he “continues to improve some each day.”

The other two in the van were Starkey staff members.

Blevins and his passenger were also hurt in the collision, but Blevins got out of the SUV and ran from the scene, Wichita police have said. He later was captured in the backyard of a nearby home at Newell and Anna.

Blevins made his first appearance in a Sedgwick County courtroom Friday afternoon via a video link from the Sedgwick County Jail, where he has been held on probation violations for nearly two weeks. Dressed in an orange jail jumpsuit, he was silent as Judge Jeffrey Goering advised him of the charges and set his next court date for June 2.

The 33-year-old Starkey client who survived the collision remains hospitalized in fair condition, Starkey spokeswoman Jamie Opat said, but he “continues to improve some each day.”

The hearing lasted only a few minutes.

Blevins is being held in the Sedgwick County Jail on $250,000 in bonds for violating probation. That case involves the thefts of a 6-foot-tall bronze eagle statue from the Boy Scouts of America Quivira Council building and a bronze teeter-totter statue from Auburn Hills golf course last fall.

On Friday, the judge set Blevins’ bond for the charges connected to the collision at $250,000. If convicted, he faces up to 14 years, four months in prison on each of the involuntary manslaughter charges.

Kay Atterbery has a message for the man arrested on suspicion of causing the crash Friday that killed two Starkey Inc. residents, including her son, Dusty.

Contributing: Stan Finger of The Eagle

Amy Renee Leiker: 316-268-6644, @amyreneeleiker

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