Wichita man sentenced in 2021 crash that killed local music influencer Kenny Ballinger

A 32-year-old Wichita man will spend a total of 82 months in prison in connection with a 2021 crash that killed beloved local music influencer and bar owner, Kenny Ballinger.

Ballinger, 37, was a key figure in the Wichita music scene, booking well-known music acts at local bars and running local music venues over the years including Barleycorn’s, The Elbow Room and Lizard’s Lounge, according to The Eagle’s news archives. He also owned a production company called Fine Swine Productions and was a husband and father.

Ballinger died at a Wichita hospital a few hours after he was hit by a SUV while riding his motorcycle at 47th and Hydraulic on Aug. 25, 2021. Police have said the driver of the SUV, Jesus Manuel Olave Jr., fled after running into Ballinger around 11:30 p.m., drove to a friend’s house and had the SUV towed off.

In a police interview after his Aug. 26, 2021, arrest, Olave described the crash as “just an accident” and said that he didn’t see Ballinger on the motorcycle when he turned left at the intersection, according to a probable cause affidavit released by the court. Panic made him leave the scene, he said during the interview.

Olave didn’t have a valid driver’s license at the time of the crash, according to court records.

Olave pleaded guilty in November to one count of leaving the scene of an accident in connection with Ballinger’s death, court records show. He was sentenced Friday afternoon by Sedgwick County District Judge Eric Williams, who ordered a 46-month prison term for the felony conviction, plus an additional 36 months in prison for violating his probation in a 2018 aggravated battery case, said Dan Dillon, a spokesman for the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office.

Olave will serve the terms consecutively, or back to back, for a total of 82 months, Dillon said.

Jesus Manuel Olave Jr. at the time of his August 2021 arrest.
Jesus Manuel Olave Jr. at the time of his August 2021 arrest.

Contributing: Denise Neil of The Wichita Eagle