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A Kennewick bouncer dropped him on his head. His death 6 years later is being investigated

The Benton County Coroner's Office in Kennewick.
The Benton County Coroner's Office in Kennewick. Tri-City Herald

A Richland man died this week, nearly six years after he was dropped headfirst on a sidewalk while being kicked out of a downtown Kennewick club.

The Benton County Coroner's Office is trying to determine if Ben F. Ensign's death is connected to his severe head injury in 2012.

An autopsy is scheduled Wednesday.

The 37-year-old's body was discovered Sunday in his Bellerive Drive apartment, said Chief Deputy Coroner Roy McLean.

Ensign was 31 when he went to Jack Didley's with friends after watching Fourth of July fireworks. He was twice asked to leave the club because he was intoxicated and being disruptive.

He was running back to the front door to go inside when Matthew T. Hibbard grabbed Ensign in a choke hold and began walking him back across the sidewalk. Meanwhile, another bouncer grabbed Ensign's ankles.

Hibbard, a club manager and bouncer, claimed he didn't know another bouncer had also stepped in. They carried Ensign for more than 13 seconds before Hibbard let go, later saying he backed off to protect himself from being hit by Ensign.

Ensign fell about 4 1/2 to 5 feet to the ground. He suffered a fractured skull and a subdural hematoma, was on life support for a month, underwent extensive rehabilitation and was left with limited disabilities.

Hibbard was convicted of third-degree assault and sentenced to 20 days in jail and a remaining 345 days on work release.

Ensign, who had one daughter, had worked for Lithia Dodge after graduating from Columbia Basin College and Eastern Washington University. Family members traveled from across the state to be by his side.

Ensign told one of his friends, David Fritch, in a YouTube video posted in 2015 that he wanted to return to selling cars. It's unclear whether he returned to work following the injury.

"The only thing I need real help with is reading faster than I read right now," he said in the video.

Cameron Probert: 509-582-1402; Twitter: @cameroncprobert

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