On Monday, August 15, the Manassas Office of the Chief Medical Examiner released the cause and manner of death of Ralph Ennis, 77, who died April 15, 13 days after a traffic stop by the county sheriff’s office of Warren during which he was injured and then hospitalized.
In an email response, Arkuie Williams, Northern District Administrator of Virginia’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, told the Royal Examiner that: ‘The cause of death is due to complications from Alzheimer’s disease, cerebral amyloid angiopathy and hypertensive atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. The way of dying is natural.
Royal Examiner answered the following questions to Williams:
“Does this rule out that his head trauma suffered 13 days earlier had no impact on the causes listed below, specifically cerebral amyloid angiopathy and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease?
“Is there any possible debate that the April 2 brain bleed and traumatic shock could have aggravated his pre-existing conditions and these combined natural causes of death? – Thank you for any details.
Williams responded by stating, “Our office is unable to provide additional information to the public. We are limited to providing only the cause and manner of death for our death investigations. »
Several weeks before the traffic halt, Ennis had been placed on a silver alert on March 11, 2022, following an endangered and missing person report issued by the Pennsylvania State Police in name of Ennis’ wife, Linda. Deputies located Ennis in downtown Front Royal in the East Main Street pawnshop of his longtime friends Ralph and Sue Waller. The Wallers offered to let Ennis stay there until his son Ian could travel to Front Royal from his Staunton home and bring his father home.
See: Who was Ralph Ennis? Local friends mourn the loss of a ‘sweet, easy-going guy’ – Royal Examiner
Mr Ennis died on April 15 in the care of Blue Ridge Hospice in Winchester, where he had been transferred days earlier from the affiliated Winchester Medical Center.
“All we know is that he was healthy and never released from the hospital after that – and that’s a FACT,” Ralph Waller said of the conclusion from the medical examiner that Ennis died of natural causes less than two weeks after his injuries sustained during the traffic stop.
When contacted, Ennis’ son Ian said he had received the medical examiner’s report but declined to comment further at this time. Ralph Ennis’ wife, Linda, also said she received the report today but had no further comment.
On April 2, 2022, Ennis was pulled over by the Warren County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) for driving eight miles over the speed limit and driving erratically on Winchester Road southbound toward Front Royal, the sheriff’s office said in a previous news release.
The chase continued for approximately 3.75 miles, and Ennis eventually pulled into the 7-11 convenience store at 251 Crooked Run Plaza, where he parked his truck. At the time, the statement from the Sheriff’s Office said “other WCSO deputies and a Royal Frontline Police officer were at the scene, or had just arrived as the traffic stop at high risk was in progress”.
Body camera video footage of a Royal Front Police officer, who was called in to help with the traffic stop, shows Ennis, 77, moving slowly towards MPs with his keys in hand. A first deputy grabs Ennis and roughly pulls his hands behind his back handcuffing him and banging his head against the cab of his truck. A second deputy from the Warren County Sheriff’s Office then charges the scene, tackling both Ennis and the first deputy, taking them both to the ground with old Ennis on the bottom, apparently banging his head hard on the paved parking lot.
WCSO Maj. Jeffrey Driskill previously said Ennis was taken to Warren Memorial Hospital where emergency department doctors suspected “signs of internal bleeding from the head”, after which Ennis was rushed to the Winchester Medical Center. Driskill had previously said that Mr Ennis was ‘showing signs of cognitive problems consistent with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease’.
Former Northern District Administrator Jennifer Smith of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner first told the Royal Examiner in an email in May: ‘This case is ongoing. Currently, cases take approximately 12-16 weeks to process, as with all cases the OCME’s goal is to process them within 90 days. Each subsequent inquiry regarding the status of the autopsy and lab tests provided the same information.
Status of investigations
The Warren County Sheriff’s Office has been quiet about an internal investigation into the traffic stop. Sheriff Mark Butler previously told the Royal Examiner that a ‘board of inquiry’ made up of senior WCSO officers and a member of an outside law enforcement agency had been formed, but none No information has been published on the members of this commission.
After the roadside check, one of the two deputies involved was reassigned to administrative duties; another was placed on administrative leave with pay. When asked if one or both deputies left WCSO employment, Butler declined to comment.
Contacted by the Royal Examiner on Monday following the publication of information by the medical examiner in the Ennis case, Sheriff Mark Butler said: ‘My heart and prayers go out to all the families involved at a difficult time for all. The Warren County Sheriff’s Office will continue to work and conduct themselves in a professional matter at all times. “
Asked about the employment status of the deputies involved in the traffic stop, Butler said he could not discuss personnel matters.
Virginia State Police Investigator Adam Galton has been assigned to investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident and Ennis’ death. Warren County Commonwealth Solicitor John Bell referred the case to a special prosecutor; therefore, the Prince William Commonwealth County Prosecutor’s Office is overseeing the VSP investigation and will decide whether to charge the deputies once the investigation is complete.
Prince William County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of Staff Anthony Kostelecky previously told the Royal Examiner he had no comment regarding the investigation or its conclusion.