Defendant sentenced to more than two years for ramming off-duty police car

John Richmeier/Leavenworth Times
Dean Conner

A man has been sentenced to more than two years in prison for ramming a vehicle driven by an off-duty Leavenworth police officer.

Dean Edward Conner, 37, Topeka, was sentenced Friday in Leavenworth County District Court to 32 months, or two years and eight months, in prison.

He was sentenced for the charges of aggravated battery, driving while a habitual violator and transporting an open container of alcohol.

The charges stemmed from a Feb. 19, 2019, incident in Leavenworth.

A member of the Leavenworth Police Department was on her way home in an unmarked police vehicle. She noticed a Jeep Renegade, which was exceeding the speed limit and traveling erratically on South Fourth Street, according to County Attorney Todd Thompson.

The off-duty officer contacted police dispatchers, requesting that an on-duty officer respond. The off-duty officer followed the Jeep, providing updates about its location to dispatchers.

The vehicle came to a stop on Wilson Street. The driver, who later was identified as Conner, reportedly exited the vehicle and urinated on the side of the street.

The off-duty officer approached Conner in her own vehicle. Conner reportedly got back into the Jeep and put the vehicle in reverse, traveling at a high rate of speed.

The officer put her car in reverse to avoid a collision. She was able to turn her car around, but the Jeep struck the back of the car twice, according to Thompson.

A jury convicted Conner of the charges in August.

During Friday's sentencing, Conner's attorney sought a departure from what was considered the standard sentence for the charges.

District Judge Gerald Kuckelman denied the request, saying he did not find substantial and compelling reasons for a sentencing departure.

Kuckelman sentenced Conner to 32 months in prison for the aggravated battery charge. The judge sentenced Conner to 12 months in jail for driving while a habitual offender charge and 60 days in jail for the open container charge. But the judge ordered the sentences to run concurrent, which means Conner will only have to serve the 32-month prison sentence.

Conner received 37 days credit for time he previously spent in custody.

Conner had been free on bond Friday, but he was taken into custody after the judge imposed the sentence.

"We are lucky to have some of the best law enforcement," Thompson said in a news release. "The fact that even while off-duty, they are willing to put themselves in harm's way to protect our community shows their dedication to keep all of us safe."