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Suellentrop free on bond following DUI, fleeing charges

Gene Suellentrop (Shawnee Co. Jail)
Gene Suellentrop (Shawnee Co. Jail)(Shawnee Co. Jail)
Published: Mar. 26, 2021 at 5:28 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Kansas Senate Majority Leader Gene Suellentrop was free on bond Friday night, less than an hour after turning himself in on charges stemming from his recent DUI arrest.

Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay filed the criminal complaint and accompanying arrest warrant Friday afternoon. It lists five counts: felony eluding or attempting to elude police; misdemeanors of driving under the influence and reckless driving; plus two traffic infractions, driving the wrong way down a divided highway and speeding.

According to the Shawnee Co. Jail, Suellentrop was officially booked in at 5:40 p.m. Friday, and released at 6:30 p.m. on $5,000 bond. His next court date is not yet set.

Witnesses say Suellentrop, a Republican from Wichita, was spotted driving the wrong way on I-470 at Burlingame Rd. in Topeka early March 16th. The Kansas Highway Patrol says officers spotted him on I-70 near Gage, and he did not stop until he was at 8th St., downtown.

The Kansas Reflector reports that the criminal complaint states Suellentrop was driving 90 miles per hour in a 65 mile per hour zone, and that he “failed to stop for a police roadblock, drove around a tire deflating device placed by a police officer, engaged in reckless driving, was involved in a motor vehicle accident, intentionally caused damage to property, committed five or more moving violations, and/or attempt to elude capture.”

The Kansas Reflector reports the complaint also states Suellentrop’s blood alcohol level was above the legal limit, but it did not specify the level.

KHP arrested Suellentrop the same day on charges of driving under the influence and fleeing. However, a Shawnee Co. District Court judge released him hours later, saying the arrest report was missing pertinent information required to hold him.

Suellentrop returned to the Statehouse March 17, and issued a written statement saying he would hand off most of his leadership duties while his case is resolved.

KHP handed its reports over to the DA’s office just before noon Friday. However, none of it is available to the public right now.

In response to an open records request from 13 NEWS, KHP General Counsel Luther Ganieany said the type of incident did not warrant a Kansas Standard Offense Report (KSOR). He said, according to the Kansas Incident-Based Reporting System, all criminal offenses are classified as Group A or Group B offenses, with only Group A requiring a KSOR. Ganieany said the offenses involved in the case of Suellentrop are considered to be Group B offenses, and, therefore, no KSOR is required, nor was on prepared.

Ganieany also said the arrest report and officer narratives are exempt from disclosure requirements under the Kansas Open Records Act. Although, they may be released later as the case moves through the court system.

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