COUNCIL GROVE (KSNT) – Details have begun to emerge surrounding a Council Grove attorney that has been accused of attempting to use a semi-tractor-trailer to run down a city councilman and his wife.
Attorney Steven D. Iverson is facing several charges including two counts of aggravated assault, one count of interference with law enforcement, interference with the judicial process, intimidation of a witness or victim and reckless driving.
The complaint states that on or about July 25, 2020, Iverson attempted to use a semi-tractor trailer as a deadly weapon against Council Grove councilman Keith Wessel and his wife Alicia Wessel. In a moderately redacted affidavit filed June 2, details of the event have come to light.
According to the affidavit, Councilman Keith Wessel and his wife Alicia Wessel were returning to Council Grove from Alma after having dinner when they approached a stopped semi-tractor-trailer at the intersection of Kansas Highway 177 and Highway 4 around 9:10 p.m.
According to the affidavit, Wessel and his wife pulled up behind the semi and waited a short period of time before the semi turned south on Highway 177, at which point they began following it as they needed to reach Council Grove. Wessel told law enforcement the semi was moving at a slow rate of speed.
In the affidavit, Wessel said he passed the semi at 30 to 35 mph, but then observed the semi coming at them very fast, Wessel said he could hear the truck accelerating, then backing off, and blowing the air horn. Wessel believed that the truck was going to hit his vehicle at this point. The truck would get close to Wessel’s vehicle, blowing its horns, before backing off and repeating the process.
Wessel told law enforcement that he made a right turn toward Dwight to escape the truck, before turning around to continue south toward Council Grove. In a written statement the councilman’s wife, Alicia Wessel, told authorities, “I was so terrified that I honestly thought we were going to be killed.”
Later, law enforcement would speak with Iverson but would get several different stories about what happened. At this point in the affidavit, entire paragraphs are redacted. However, Iverson does tell law enforcement in one account that he was not in the truck at the time of the assault.
At 8:30 p.m. on Nov. 20, 2020, Wessel contacted law enforcement after being speaking with Iverson. Wessel reported to police that Iverson admitted to him that he had been driving the truck, and told him that if he had known it was the Wessels he would not have done what he did.
While a section of the affidavit is redacted, it is clear that a second man, a passenger was in the semi-truck, identified only as Mr. McDonald, who was arrested regarding this incident. At one point Iverson offered McDonald money, although the affidavit is not clear why. Eventually, all charges against McDonald were dismissed, and his jury trial was canceled.
McDonald admitted to authorities that he had been a passenger in the semi. According to the affidavit, McDonald said Iverson did drive up on the couple to frighten them.
In a statement to authorities, McDonald told law enforcement, “I believe these actions frightened the occupants of the vehicle that Iverson was following and that the semi-truck was being operated in an unsafe manner.”
McDonald told law enforcement that he had been working on the truck that day, and Iverson wanted to test drive the vehicle. Despite the passenger’s protests, Iverson was driving the semi that day. The passenger stated Iverson did stall out at the intersection and later intended to scare the couple after they passed him. McDonald told law enforcement that Iverson was using the air horns the entire time and was so close to the Wessel’s Jeep he could no longer see the Jeep over the hood of the semi-tractor.
Iverson is being charged with interference with law enforcement as well. That charge stems from interfering with Morris County Sheriff’s Deputy Alex Wooden while he was on duty. The complaint states that Iverson attempted to intimidate Keith and Alicia Wessel from filing a complaint leading to an intimidation charge.
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Iverson could face 11 to 34 months in prison, and or up to a $100,000 fine for each of the aggravated assault charges. He could face five to 17 months in prison for the interference charge, and seven to 23 months in county jail if he is found guilty of the intimidation charge.