EXCLUSIVE: Ben Ensign's family speaks out after bouncer is charged with assault

EXCLUSIVE: Ben Ensign's family speaks out after bouncer is charged with assault »Play Video
Ben Ensign. Action News photo
TRI CITIES, Wash. -- A bouncer is now facing a felony assault charge, accused of critically-injuring a Richland man outside a nightclub.

Ben Ensign was critically injured more than three weeks ago. Action News spoke exclusively with Ben's mother.

Sheila Barichello says she felt relief the instant the charge was filed.

"It was just knowing something was being done."

It's now been nearly a month since her son was rushed to the hospital, fighting for his life -- And just as long that family members have wondered if criminal charges would ever be filed against those who put him there.

"Really, we're just looking for justice for Ben," says Barichello.

A felony charge is now filed against a Jack Didley's bouncer. 41-year old Matthew Hibbard is accused of 3rd degree assault.

Benton County charging documents say Ben had already been kicked out of the club once, but apparently tried to get back in that Fourth of July night. That's when Hibbard and another bouncer allegedly picked Ben up by his neck and feet, and then threw him on the sidewalk.

KEPR tried to find Hibbard himself, to get his side of the story, at an address listed in Richland.

But the man who answered the door said Hibbard no longer lived there.

Action News also tried to get a hold of Jack Didley's owner, Todd Jones. When the incident first happened, Jones told Action News his bouncers did nothing wrong.

Barichello says he did pay them a visit to the hospital the the day after the incident.

"He met with myself and Ben's dad, and just expressed what a tragedy this was. And that's pretty much it."

She says she has still never gotten an apology. And she says no matter how much Ben had to drink that night, no one had the right to put his life on the line.

Hibbard faces third degree assault charges, which would normally receive a sentence of 1 or 2 months in jail. But with aggravating circumstances, the Benton County Prosecutor says he could face up to five years behind bars.

But even with charges filed, Sheila says her son's life has been changed forever.

"We're just taking it day by day. We have to wait for him to wake up, and show us what he can do, and what challenges he may have in the future."

Hibbard is scheduled to be arraigned next Thursday.

KEPR has requested the club's surveillance video which is said to show exactly what happened that night. Kennewick Police have said they would release it once the investigation is complete.