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Suspected drunk driver crashes into living center

No injuries in crash, residents sleep through incident

Staff writer

The safety of Amy Boudreaux’s residents was the first thing on her mind just after 2 a.m. Sunday when she heard that a vehicle crashed into Marion Assisted Living Center.

“There was a disbelief of what I was actually hearing,” the living center’s executive director said. “I wasn’t quite sure if it was over exaggerated, so I immediately came in to see what was going on.”

No one was hurt in the incident. In fact, Boudreaux said all residents slept right through it.

“It absolutely would have caused panic,” she said. “It was a blessing that they slept through it. I was completely shocked.”

John A. Ottensmeier, 37, Marion, was arrested on suspicion of a hit and run, and suspicion of driving under the influence.

Ottensmeier was driving along Denver St. at 2:01 a.m. Sunday when he failed to stop at a stop sign at Denver and Eisenhower Sts., crashing his 2011 GMC Sierra into the building, according to police reports.

Residents were in their rooms on the center’s opposite side, but there was significant damage to the library.

“If it had been during the day or the evening, it would have been possible that there could be residents in that room,” she said. “With the timing, thank God the staff member was not in that room at the time, and residents were in their rooms asleep.”

COVID-19 safety measures meant the library was not often in use, Boudreaux said.

The center contacted residents’ family members Sunday morning to inform them, she said.

“It was so they didn’t hear it from the street or social media,” she said. “We wanted them to hear that their loved one was fine.”

Emergency responders helped ease the situation, Boudreaux said.

“They definitely answered my questions and were attentive to my staff,” she said. “They were amazing.”

Marion police have seen a rise in the number of DUIs in April after having none through the three months of 2020, said Marion police chief Clinton Jeffrey.

“This is the third DUI this month that we’ve worked in town,” he said. “We don’t have that many that we work. We find them, obviously, but it seems like this month there have been several.”

Ottensmeier registered 0.229 g/mL on his breathalyzer test, according to police reports. Kansas’ legal drinking limit is 0.08

While unsure of the relationship, Jeffrey said there could be a correlation between implementation of stay-home orders and the number of DUIs in April.

“I don’t know what would make them want to go driving, but people being cooped up at home might lead to them drinking more,” he said.

Stephanie Ottensmeier, 34, Aubree Werdann, 33, and Edward Werdann, 39, all of Marion, were in the vehicle at the time, but it was unknown whether they had been drinking, Jeffrey said.

Last modified April 23, 2020

 

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