Three former Atchison Co employees arrested on felonies

Top: left to right: Wes Lanter, Adam Housh, and Jessica Housh. Bottom: left to right: Jared Reiff and Maddison Umphenour-Nolan Credit: Atchison Co Sheriff

(KAIR)--Three former Atchison County employees are among a group of five arrested Wednesday on felony charges stemming from their alleged interference with an injurious, 2023 UTV crash investigation, and follows what a release from Atchison County Sheriff Jack Laurie calls "a comprehensive six-month investigation."

Among the five taken into custody throughout Wednesday afternoon and evening, on warrants issued by the Atchison County District Court, was 42-year-old Wesley "Wes" Lanter, of rural Atchison County, who served as Atchison County Emergency Management Director from December 2010 until his termination in February 2024. The former County IT Director and certified EMT was arrested on two felony counts, aid and abet leaving the scene of an accident/failure to report an injury accident resulting in great bodily harm, and interference with law enforcement, as well as a single misdemeanor count of official misconduct.

Arrested on the same two felony counts was 34-year-old Jessica Housh, an Atchison resident who served as Lanter's Emergency Management Office Manager for 5-years. A certified EMT, she also served as a first responder for Atchison County Rescue for 12-years, until she was terminated by the Atchison County Commission on February 6.

Also arrested Wednesday on the same two felony counts was 12-year County Rescue member Adam Housh, of Atchison, who served as the rescue team's Officer in Charge, under the direction of Lanter, until February 6, when he was terminated by the Commission.

The two non-former County employees arrested Wednesday were 23-year-old Jared Reiff, of rural Atchison County, identified as the driver of the wrecked UTV that sparked the investigation, and 23-year-old Lancaster resident Maddison Umphenour-Nolan. Reiff was arrested on a single felony count of leaving the scene of an accident/failure to report an injury accident resulting in great bodily harm, while Umphenour-Nolan was arrested on both felony counts.

"The arrests made today are the result of a diligent and thorough investigation by deputies and investigators of the Atchison County Sheriff's Office. Our primary responsibility is to uphold the law and ensure justice is served. We appreciate the victims’ and community's patience throughout this investigation."-
Statement from the Atchison County Sheriff's Office

Laurie, in the release, explains the reason for the investigation that lead to the arrests, saying that last year, on the morning of September 2, his office, Atchison County EMS, and County Rescue, all responded to rural Atchison County, near Effingham, after a UTV crashed at a low water crossing, near the intersection of 250th and Graham roads.

When the deputies arrived, they found that the driver, identified as Reiff, had left the scene, and was not located, leading to the allegation that he had fled "to avoid being investigated for driving under the influence of alcohol."

Two UTV passengers, both from McLouth, were located at the scene, with 25-year-old Hannah Sparks suffering "severe, life threatening injuries" while 22-year-old Gracie Berry incurred minor injuries.

According to Laurie's release, "concerns arose regarding the involvement of Lanter [and Adam and Jessica Housh] who were present at the scene [of the UTV wreck] as rescue personnel," with Laurie adding that "subsequent investigations revealed potential interference with the crash investigation," leading "to an extensive investigation, including numerous interviews and the execution of multiple search warrants," which lead to a review of the case by the County Attorney's Office, and to Wednesday's arrests.

Once in custody, all five were booked into the Atchison County Jail.

As of Thursday morning, all five had been released on bond, with Reiff's set at $20,000 while the four others were set at $10,000.

Weeks following his Atchison County termination. Lanter was appointed to the position of Valley Falls City Administrator, through a February 22 vote of the City Council, a position he held at the time of Wednesday's arrest.

The City of Valley Falls, Thursday morning, released a statement regarding the situation, and Lanter's status in his city role:

"The City of Valley Falls is aware of the recent arrest and criminal allegations against Wes Lanter, City Administrator.
The City is presently investigating these allegations for actions of Mr. Lanter prior to his employment by the City. With respect to the individual in question, we are prohibited by law from discussing any potential disciplinary actions and matters pertaining to a specific employee.
The City is conducting a full investigation and will follow established disciplinary procedures and take appropriate action, in accordance to City policy and State law.
The City will have no other comment on this matter at this time."

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