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Governor makes first public comments on Senate Majority Leader’s DUI arrest

Kelly comments on Suellentrop arrest
Kelly comments on Suellentrop arrest(Shawnee Co. Department of Corrections/Governor Kelly's Office)
Published: Mar. 17, 2021 at 11:37 AM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Governor Laura Kelly made her first public comments about the DUI arrest of Senate Majority Leader Gene Suellentrop.

When asked about her response, the Democratic governor simply responded: “I don’t really want to comment on Senator Suellentrop, but if you look at what the judge did, that’s pretty typical at a first hearing. If the paperwork is essentially not completed, and you look at the timeframe, I don’t think there was enough time to get all that paperwork done. I expect that this will come back up again.”

Kelly made the statement to reporters while touring a childcare facility in Topeka this morning with KDADS/DCF Secretary Laura Howard. Just as soon as Kelly wrapped her answer, her handler moved quickly to shut down any additional questions. Earlier, Kelly’s communications department had emailed 13 News saying that the governor would have no comment on the situation.

Kansas Senate Majority Leader Gene Suellentrop was arrested early Tuesday morning for a DUI and an attempt to flee.

According to the Shawnee County Department of Corrections, Gene Suellentrop was arrested just before 4 a.m. on Tuesday for driving under the influence, speeding, improper crossover on a divided highway and attempting to run from the police.

According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, just before 1 a.m. on Tuesday, a white SUV was headed eastbound in the westbound lanes of I-70 near the Gage Blvd. exit. It said a KHP Capitol Police Officer tried to stop the vehicle, but it continued to flee. It said when the vehicle finally came to a stop near the 8th St. exit, the driver was identified as Suellentrop and subsequently arrested.

“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 and 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 KHP Lt. Candace Breshears.

Suellentrop was released from jail after his first appearance due to lack of probable cause.

Suellentrop is a businessman representing Senate District 27, west of Wichita. He served in the Kansas House from 2009-2016 and was elected to the Senate, beginning to serve in that chamber in 2017--according to the Kansas Legislature’s website. He is a restauranteur, owning In the Sauce Brands--the parent company of Gambino’s Pizza, Hero Deli, and Huey’s Smokehouse BBQ.

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