A clerical error allowed a man with six DUIs to go to work release when he was supposed to be in jail for a drunk-driving accident that shattered the lives of Myrna and Russ Haas.
The Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office mistakenly allowed Johnny Dore the freedom to go to a job for roughly three months.
He was able to drive part of that time with a restricted license that required a device in his vehicle to monitor his blood alcohol level, according to records from the Kansas Department of Revenue, which oversees the Division of Motor Vehicles.
People saw Dore out at breakfast at restaurants during that time, said Myrna Haas, whose husband of 48 years is in a wheelchair and nursing home because of the accident.
She remembers thinking: "There's no way. It can't be him."
But she called the jail and confirmed that Dore was, indeed, in work release instead of serving the 18-month jail sentence a judge had ordered.
Sheriff Robert Hinshaw said his office is investigating how the mix-up occurred so that something like that doesn't happen again.
Dore went back to jail in October.
"It's regrettable," Hinshaw said. "Fortunately he was never out of our custody. We're still looking into various aspects to make sure we have dug into this as deeply as we can. Do we need to change policy? Was this an avoidable error? If discipline is appropriate, then we'll take that action."
Caressing her husband's hand at Park West Plaza Manor, a nursing home where Russ Haas now lives, Myrna Haas talked about the mistake.
"I was astonished," she said. "How could someone who was supposed to be in jail be at breakfast?
"What if I had never brought it to their attention that he wasn't supposed to be on work release — would they have ever figured it out?" she asked.
She was surprised again late Friday night when she learned from The Eagle that Dore could drive while on work release.
Hinshaw said he understood her frustration. "Right now my sympathy is with that wife."
Read more at Kansas.com