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Kansas Senate Republican turns self in on felony charge

Gene M. Suellentrop mug shot.jpg
Posted at 6:07 PM, Mar 26, 2021

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The no. 2-ranking Republican in the Kansas Senate turned himself into the Shawnee County, Kansas, jail Friday after he was charged with several crimes, including felony eluding of police.

Shawnee County District Attorney Michael F. Kagay Friday charged Sen. Gene Suellentrop (R - Wichita) with one count of felony eluding, misdemeanor driving under the influence and misdemeanor reckless driving. Suellentrop also faces citations for driving the wrong way on a divided highway and speeding.

A press release says once his office had posted the charges, a warrant was issued for Suellentrop, who turned himself in just before 5 p.m. Friday.

Bond was set at $5,000. No court date was immediately announced.

The charges stem from an incident in the early morning hours of March 16, 2021.

According to the press release, law enforcement received several calls of a white SUV driving the wrong direction on Interstate 470 near Burlingame Road in Topeka.

Officers located the SUV traveling eastbound in the westbound lanes of Interstate 70 near Gage Boulevard in central Topeka.

Officers attempted to pull over the driver of the SUV, but the driver continued, forcing a Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper to use a maneuver to force the SUV to lose control.

The driver, later identified as Suellentrop, was the only person in the SUV and was taken into custody.

Initially, Suellentrop was released later that morning after a judge said the arrest warrant was missing “critical information.”

Earlier this month, Suellentrop, who serves as the Senate Majority leader, announced he was handing off many of his responsibilities to the Kansas Senate Assistant Majority Leader during the course of the investigation.

On Thursday, the Kansas Highway Patrol reported it did not have any records to release regarding Suellentrop's arrest.

For jurisdictions that utilize the Greater Kansas City Crime Stoppers Tips Hotline, anonymous tips can be made by calling 816-474-TIPS (8477), submitting the tip online or through the free mobile app at P3Tips.com.

Annual homicide details and data for the Kansas City area are available through the 41 Action News Homicide Tracker, which was launched in 2015. Read the 41 Action News Mug Shot Policy.