Morris Co. Officials Face DUI Charges

By: Suzie Gilbert Email
By: Suzie Gilbert Email

MORRIS COUNTY, Kan. (WIBW) -- The Morris County USD 417 Superintendent has resigned amid DUI charges. Dr. Mike Ford stepped down at a school board meeting Monday night. He and Morris County Attorney Laura Allen face DUI charges, and both remain members of the Morris County Anti-Drug Task Force.

"We're all human and we all make mistakes, but we have to learn to walk the walk and not just talk the talk," task force president Gail Daugherty said. She said the group is already discussing leaving Ford and Allen's signatures off anti-drug mailers, fearing it could send the wrong message.

Officials say Kansas Highway Patrol Troopers stopped Ford recently near Abilene for driving under the influence. Ford resigned from his post Monday. 13 News found his truck outside the district building, but he wouldn't talk.

"I would think that a person in a leadership position wouldn't be as effective when things like this come to light," Daugherty said.

Allen wouldn't talk to us either, but she has said she won't step down from her role as county attorney. Officials say she was driving Morris County Magistrate Judge Thomas Ball's vehicle, when she ran off the road and hit a shed near the Council Grove football field.

Judge Thomas Ball, Council Grove City Attorney Randy Heilman, and Judge Margaret White all recused themselves from the case.

Wabaunsee County Attorney Norbert Marek, Jr. was appointed as special prosecutor. He wouldn't confirm whether Allen had previous DUI convictions.

Morris County Commissioners wouldn't comment on the controversy on camera, but Commissioner Vernon Hay says Allen has been found guilty only by public opinion. He says premature action by the County Commission could create legal exposure for the county, and jeopardize the case against Allen.

County leaders say the actions and innuendos have left them in an uncomfortable position.

"When the rubber meets the road, we need people who are encased in doing the right thing all the time, and thinking," Daugherty said.

A court date is not yet set for Allen, who is unopposed in the November election.

An interim USD 417 superintendent had not been chosen as of Tuesday night.


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