A 39-year-old Kansas City man fatally struck by a car in Oak Grove on Wednesday night was the homeless man at the center of a controversy in Prairie Village.
A 1993 Chevrolet Caprice hit Kelley S. Malone about 8:30 p.m. as he walked on South Outer Road just west of Broadway, according to the Missouri Highway Patrol.
Emergency crews took Malone to a hospital, where he died. The driver of the car, an 84-year-old Independence man, was uninjured.
Malone was the homeless friend of Prairie Village Councilman David Morrison, who is embroiled in a long legal saga involving his decision to allow Malone to spend several nights in Prairie Village City Hall in 2012.
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A Johnson County judge ousted Morrison from office in 2013 for misleading a city employee and allowing Malone access to City Hall. Morrison appealed, and the Kansas Court of Appeals ordered him reinstated last year.
The Kansas Supreme Court earlier this month found that both the Johnson County judge and the Court of Appeals had applied the wrong legal standard in their decisions.
The Supreme Court instructed the Johnson County judge to hold a hearing to determine if Morrison acted with a “bad or corrupt purpose.”
Morrison said Thursday morning that he was saddened to hear about Malone’s death, adding that he was a great guy who was entertaining and fun to be around.
“And a very honest person — honest and trustworthy,” Morrison said.
The two met while working as loan originators for a mortgage company.
“He got involved with drugs, and then he couldn’t keep a job and lost his way,” Morrison said. “He had a long running battle with drugs, trying very hard to turn his life around. He would get clear and then he would relapse into the drugs.”
Morrison let Malone stay at City Hall because he was in need.
“It was a purely humanitarian act — he had nowhere else to go and needed help,” Morrison said. “I did the right thing. I just did it the wrong way.”
Morrison said he hadn’t seen Malone since a court proceeding in Johnson County in 2013. Malone had called once after that, indicating he was trying to get his life together.
Court records show Malone pleaded guilty in 2013 to felony possession of drugs. He was sentenced to 13 months in prison but was granted probation.
Earlier this year, he was ordered to prison for violating his probation. He was released in April, according to the Kansas Department of Corrections.
Jeff Fulton, president of The Big Lot — Car Credit, said he had hired Malone 15 or 20 years ago.
“He was a good-looking, healthy, great young man,” Fulton said. “But he started dating a girl into drugs … and just became in a bad way. He was in and out of jail — just not the same person.”
Malone stopped by the car lot five or six days ago but was told to leave, that he wasn’t wanted there, Fulton said.
Fulton said he was sorry to hear that Malone had died, saying it’s terrible what happened. But Fulton didn’t think Malone was ever going to be able to turn his life around. Malone had become a drifter, Fulton said.
“This is the old story of a great kid next door that ended up getting into drugs and having a horrible life because of it,” Fulton said. “He was an all-American kid at one time — very smart, good-looking, intelligent. He went from the very top to the very bottom.”