Kansas Senate majority leader drove 90 mph in wrong direction while drunk, charges allege

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Originally published by Kansas Reflector on March 26, 2021:

TOPEKA — Senate Majority Leader Gene Suellentrop was charged Friday with drunk driving and felony fleeing from police while traveling 90 MPH in the wrong direction on Interstate 70 in Topeka.


The complaint filed in district court by the Shawnee County District Attorney’s Office indicates the early morning escapade on March 16 ended after Suellentrop “willfully failed or refused” police orders to stop.

The Wichita Republican was stopped by Kansas Highway Patrol officers after several 911 callers reported he was driving on the wrong side of the interstate. He was released from jail after a judge determined there was a problem with the arrest report.

The next day, Suellentrop announced he was transferring leadership duties to an assistant while resolving his legal matters.

He now faces a level nine felony for fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer, misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence and reckless driving, and traffic infractions for driving the wrong way on a divided highway and speeding.

The complaint says he was driving 90 mph in a 65 mph zone. 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 document says.

His blood alcohol level was over the legal limit of .08, but the complaint doesn’t specify the exact reading.

Kansas Reflector is part of States Newsroom, a network of news outlets supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Kansas Reflector maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Sherman Smith for questions: Follow Kansas Reflector on Facebook and Twitter.

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