Franklin County Sheriff’s deputy, 28, dies of unknown causes

A 28-year-old Franklin County Sheriff’s deputy died Wednesday night at an Ottawa hospital after he fell ill earlier in the day, Sheriff Jeff Curry said Thursday afternoon.

Curry said Deputy Russel W. Geist was performing his duties at 7:30 a.m. when he became ill and Geist died after 10 p.m. at Ransom Memorial Hospital. The exact cause of death is unknown at his time, Curry said.

“Russel was living his dream as a law enforcement officer and was an invaluable member of this office,” Curry said. “Russel’s contagious smile and warm personality inspired those who worked with him. His leadership, dedication and character were in keeping with the highest standards of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and the law enforcement profession.”

Geist is the son of retired Ottawa Police Department Detective Rick Geist, Curry said. Russel Geist worked with the sheriff’s office as a corrections officer in 2005. He became a shift supervisor in the corrections department, and he was promoted to deputy Sept. 21, 2010. He had been serving as a patrol deputy upon his graduation from the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center in Yoder.

Franklin County Deputy Samuel Smith died in an accident in July as he was responding to an emergency call around 10 p.m. near the city of Pomona. En route to the call, his patrol car left the road and struck a tree.