Kansas Republican Leader Charged With DUI And Police Evasion

  • Kansas State Senator Gene Suellentrop faces multiple charges, including DUI and police evasion.
  • He was arrested in early March after 911 callers reported he was driving the wrong way down the road.
  • The new charges were announced Friday by Shawnee District Attorney Mike Kagay.
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Kansas State Senator Gene Suellentrop, a Republican and State Senate Majority Leader, faces a list of charges, including DUI, following his arrest in Topeka in early March.

Five charges were filed against Sullentrop on Friday, including a felony count of evading police, the DUI charge and a misdemeanor reckless driving charge. According to The Associated Press, Sullentrop turned himself in to authorities Friday afternoon and faces a $ 5,000 bond.

Mike Kagay, Republican and Shawnee County District Attorney, announced the charges Friday. Kagay in a press release said Sullentrop was the sole occupant of the van at the time of his arrest on March 16. Police used “tactical vehicle intervention” to arrest Sullentrop, he said.

Neither Suellentrop nor his office immediately responded to Insider’s request for comment.

The most serious charge, the felony of evading the police, can carry a prison sentence of between five and seven months for a first-time offender, although they are more likely to face probation, according to The Associated Press.

Audio released by Shawnee County Dispatch and posted by local news outlet KSNT showed that multiple people called 911 to report that they saw a white SUV driving westbound in the eastbound lanes of I-470 and eventually driving down the I-70 around 12:45 a.m. March 16, according to local media.

Suellentrop, one of the state’s top Republican lawmakers, drove for at least 11 minutes, according to the AP report.

The Capitol Police Division of the Kansas Highway Patrol arrested Suellentrop, 68, in downtown Topeka after “a brief chase” in which officers discussed the use of stop sticks in his SUV to slow down the vehicle, according to a police audio released by KSNT.

The KHP said Thursday that it had no plans to release records about Sullentrop’s arrest because such reports were not necessary for DUI incidents, according to a previous Associated Press report.

According to the initial arrest report, Sulletntrop was charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, fleeing or attempting to flee from a law enforcement officer, speeding, and improperly crossing a divided highway, but a judge hours after his arrest released to Sullentrop from jail and said the police had not provided sufficient evidence to substantiate the charges.

Many of Sullentrop’s functions as Senate Majority Leader have been temporarily taken over by Assistant Majority Leader Larry Alley, also a Republican, according to the report.

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