Court date set for man charged with manslaughter

By Matt Swearengin Managing Editor mswearengin@civitasmedia.com

February 28, 2014

A preliminary hearing has been set for a man accused of causing the death of a passenger in his vehicle by driving in a reckless manner.

The hearing for Kellis Glen Barnett, 26 Colbert, was set Wednesday. Barnett was charged in January with first-degree manslaughter following a crash that killed Neil Allen Johnston, 31.

According to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Barnett was driving on a county road near Colbert when he lost control of his vehicle while attempting to turn right and crashed into a tree. Johnston, who was ejected, was pronounced dead at the scene.

An OHP report stated Barnett, who was not injured, was fleeing from a Colbert police officer at the time of the crash.

In other crime news, a man wanted on felony warrants was arrested Wednesday. According to the Bryan County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Vinny Cacace went to arrest Tyler Blake Ballew, 25, Mead, who then fled on foot in the Lakewood Ranchettes area. A manhunt began which was called off, however, authorities began another search when he was spotted again about 30 minutes later. Ballew was not caught during the manhunt but he was arrested later that evening. Ballew was charged earlier this month with second-degree burglary and knowingly concealing stolen property.

Deputies also arrested another man wanted on warrants who was found in the woods while deputies were looking for Ballew.

Bryan County sheriff’s deputies have investigated a couple of thefts recently. Faye Shipaugh told Deputy Vinny Cacace that a 300 gallon propane tank and a water tank that was part of a well were stolen from the backyard of a building that is for sale on Second and Third streets in Cartwright.

Cacace investigated another theft at Sandstone Road and Cox Chapel Cemetery where Kevin Flake said his camper on leased property there had been burglarized. Several items were stolen, including a generator, television, deer stands and a barbecue grill.

Reach Matt Swearengin at (580) 924-4388 or on Twitter@DDDEditor