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Another Ellsworth prison staffer dies

By DAVID CLOUSTON Salina Journal

ELLSWORTH — David Bone’s tenure with the Ellsworth Correctional Facility was brief, yet his personality and experience helped him quickly forge a bond with the prison staff, Bone’s boss said Thursday.

The untimely death of Bone, 52, the prison’s deputy warden, in a vehicle crash Saturday brings to three the number of staff members at the prison who have died this year.

The personnel losses are an emotional blow for the facility but won’t compromise security, warden Johnnie Goddard said.

“It adds one less person to the emergency chain of command. Meaning there’s a few more phone calls and a little more paperwork to do,” Goddard said. “With our cell phones, (staff is) in constant contact no matter where we’re at.”

Bone and the driver of a second vehicle died in the collision Saturday near Lorraine. The second driver was Andrew Child, 35, of Valley Center.

According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, Bone was driving north in a 2008 pickup truck when he struck Child’s 2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer. Both vehicles rolled before coming to rest in a field.

The wreck happened at 5:45 p.m. on Ave. X at Ninth Road, or two miles north of Kansas 4 Highway in Ellsworth County.

Bone wasn’t wearing a seat belt. Child was wearing his, the highway patrol reported.

Retired, then back to work

Bone joined the Ellsworth Correctional Facility as deputy warden in May, after retiring from a 25-year career with the Texas state prison system, where he had served as a warden.

“When he interviewed for this job, I knew he was the right guy,” Goddard said. “He absolutely fit in here like he’d been here forever.”

Goddard said that he knew staff members were concerned about what kind of person he’d hired to be their new boss.

But with Bone’s gregarious and friendly attitude, his Texas-sized cowboy hat, and his years of experience, he quickly gained the staff’s respect, Goddard said.

Eleven staff members from the Ellsworth prison paid their own way to attend Bone’s funeral and burial near Hillsboro, Texas, he said.

Bone’s knowledge of corrections was vast, and he’d had lots of experience in handling prison emergencies, Goddard said.

Two other staff deaths

Bone followed Bill Finke as deputy warden at Ellsworth.

Finke died in February of cancer.

On July 24, another prison staffer, Melissa Gieselman, 32, died after suffering a brain aneurysm during the night at her home. She was a sergeant and negotiator for the prison’s emergency response team.

Gieselman had worked for the prison for fewer than two years, Goddard said. Her father, Mark Gieselman, was a retired captain at the prison.

Goddard said some of the workload left by Bone’s passing is being absorbed by the prison’s chief of security and other staff members.

n Reporter David Clouston can be reached at 822-1403 or by e-mail at [email protected].

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