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Kansas Senate Majority leader released from jail

Published: Mar. 16, 2021 at 9:21 AM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Kansas Senate Republican Majority Leader Gene Suellentrop was released from jail following his first court appearance for an alleged DUI and other charges.

The judge cited a lack of probable cause due to some “pertinent information” missing in the law enforcement report.

This evening, Kansas Senate leaders released a joint statement regarding the 69-year-old lawmaker from Wichita. The following is the statement from Kansas Senate President Ty Masterson and Vice President Rick Wilborn.

“This morning, we all learned that Senator Suellentrop had been arrested and subsequently released without charges. The underlying incident is certainly serious and very unfortunate. We will continue to pray for Gene and his family as we gather more information. The Senate continues to do our work on behalf of the people of Kansas.”

According to Kansas Highway Patrol Lt. Candice Breshears, a Capitol Police officer arrested Suellentrop in the early morning hours of Tuesday in downtown Topeka.

“There was a report of a white SUV traveling eastbound in the westbound lanes of I-70. One of our KHP Capitol police officers heard that call and responded to see if he could locate that vehicle. Our capitol police officer did locate the vehicle at I-70 and Gage, and turned around to stop the vehicle. The vehicle failed to stop for our capitol police officer. And a short pursuit followed. The vehicle did eventually come to a stop and the driver was arrested,” said Breshears.

Initially, she added that the wrong-way driving vehicle struck another vehicle before the arrest.

“Looks like the vehicle did strike another vehicle. But, I don’t have any information about that at this time,” said Breshears. “I don’t have the exact location, somewhere between Gage Boulevard and where the incident ended at 8th Street.”

But, this hours later, Breshears said the incident of striking another vehicle did not occur.

“I called our dispatch again just to verify since I had said it may have struck another vehicle. They said, ‘no.’ I also checked with Topeka PD and it looks like that did not occur,” said Breshears.

She added that the officer attempted a tactical vehicle interception (TVI) but was unsuccessful.

“We did try to TVI that vehicle to get it to come to a stop. The reason why we did that was to try to mitigate that vehicle going the wrong direction, so that it wouldn’t hit anyone else or cause a crash. That TVI attempt was unsuccessful,” said Breshears.

The TVI was attempted at 12:56 a.m.

The initial dispatch call of a wrong way driver took place at 12:48 a.m. The Capitol Police officer located the wrong way driving vehicle at 12:54 a.m. and eventually arrested the driver at 12:58 a.m.

Once KHP finalizes its report, it will be submitted to the Shawnee County District Attorney’s Office for review.

Kansas Senate Republican Majority Leader Gene Suellentrop was booked into the Shawnee County Jail for allegedly driving under the influence and fleeing or attempting to elude law enforcement Tuesday morning.

He was also booked into jail for other traffic charges on a $1,000 bond.

Suellentrop represents Senate District 27, west of Wichita. Suellentrop began representing his district in 2017, after serving in the House, and was elected majority leader in 2020.

A spokesperson for the Kansas Senate Majority office said they are aware and gathering more information on Suellentrop’s arrest.

This is a developing story, check back for details.

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