Ark City Man Arrested Jan. 13 On Drug, Gun Charges Was Driving City Commissioner’s Car

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An Ark City man arrested earlier this month on gun and drug charges following a traffic violation was driving an Ark City commission member’s car.

Kanyon Gingher, who was mayor last year, told KSOK-Bob FM Monday afternoon Bobby Donlay, who was arrested on Jan. 13, was driving her vehicle when he was pulled over.

Donlay, 44, was stopped at 10:31 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 13, driving a maroon Chrysler PT Cruiser for a traffic violation in the 100 block of East Polk Avenue, according to a news release written by the Ark City Police Department last week.

Donlay was charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, possession of a firearm by a felon, possession of marijuana, no drug tax stamp, possession of drug use paraphernalia and criminal use of a weapon.

Donlay was also found to be driving without a valid license, his third offense, police stated, and a search incident to arrest led to the discovery of a loaded firearm on his person. Police also said they located on Donlay a substance that later tested positive for marijuana and approximately five ounces of a substance that tested positive for meth..

Gingher said she paid $250 to a bondsman to get Donlay out of jail.

According to the ACPD news release, Donlay was placed under arrest and transported to the Cowley County Jail at approximately 11:15 p.m. that night and was initially held on a $21,900 bond. Cowley County District Court later called the jail and ordered a bond reduction to $1,000 at 11:17 a.m. Saturday.

Cowley County Attorney Larry Schwartz told KSOK-Bob FM such bond reductions are not uncommon and that the purpose of a bond is simply to make sure the individual charged will commit to showing up for his or her court date.

“I know it can be confusing for the public to see that kind of reduction,” Schwartz said.

Schwartz said several factors go into bond reductions, especially for nonviolent charges, when the county attorney’s office is confident the individual will show up to court.

“Bond is for the purpose of securing appearances in court,’ he said. “The scheduled amounts are not set by law, they are simply a place to start. In cases with multiple charges, the scheduled bond amounts for all charges are added together producing a total bond amount which can be huge and unreasonable.

“This is why bond is almost always significantly reduced at some point in nonviolent, non-sex related cases.”

Gingher said Donlay was working on the tailgate of her car before he was pulled over and that she did not give him permission to drive her vehicle.

“It got hit in Winfield and he was doing some body work on it,” she said. “And he needed to go to the store. He had my keys, which I typically take every night, but I forgot that night. He grabbed the keys, he had a car that ran and he drove to the store with it.”

Gingher said Donlay has been recovering from a motorcycle accident that happened nearly 10 years ago and hasn’t been the same since.

“For the first time in 20 years Bobby has a job where he’s getting a paycheck and he is a contributing member of taxes to society,” she said. “I had no idea if he had a gun. I had no idea if he had drugs. I don’t know — that’s not part of it. He used my car to get dog food.”

Gingher said she never called Judge Christopher Smith, but as soon as she knew it was Donlay, she went and got him out of jail.

“He is a guy who has struggled all his life,” she said. “He hasn’t been to jail in a year, but the whole thing about the press release was not to get at Bobby, it was to get at me and the judge, except we didn’t have anything to do with it. We didn’t talk. I didn’t call him.”

Gingher said the ACPD news release had a motive.

“It was written to create a lynch mob,” she said.

The ACPD declined to comment on the case.

“This particular request for modification of bond was brought to my attention,” Schwartz said. “After considering several factors, as we would in every case, I approached the judge about reducing the bond to a reasonable amount given the totally of the circumstances. The court considered the reasons presented and made the order for modification.”

Schwartz said several factors come into play when bond modifications are considered and that it is important for the public to remember charges are not convictions.

“Most generally, I believe modifications occur to get the person accused back to work or due to mental or physical health concerns,” he said. “Factors the court considers for bond modification would include length of time in the community, nature of any criminal history and how long ago anything occurred, public safety, nature of current charges, ability of the person to pay, physical health, mental health, history of making court appearances, employment, whether the person has an acceptable place to live if released, and any other thing that would assist the court in its determination of what bond is appropriate.

“Do people disappoint us after their bond is reduced? Yes, on occasion, but bond can be revisited for further modification. Again, it is important for the public to understand, bond is for the purpose of securing appearances in court. By law bond is not to serve as punishment.”

Schwartz said his office is approaching this case as any other.

“This case will continue to proceed as any other case: our office will receive police reports and consider what if any charges should be brought in district court,” Schwartz said. “All matters in this case as in all criminal cases are open to the public. I would strongly urge everyone to not form an opinion as to the guilt or innocence of the individual in this matter or any case until all has been settled in a court of law.”

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