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Kansas senate majority leader not charged following arrest

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Posted at 9:39 AM, Mar 16, 2021

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A top-ranking Republican in the Kansas Senate was jailed early Tuesday morning on a suspicion of driving while under the influence.

Shawnee County, Kansas, jail booking information indicates Gene Suellentrop was booked into the jail around 3:55 a.m. on Tuesday.

The jail log indicates Suellentrop, 68, was arrested for suspicion of DUI, fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer, speeding and improperly crossing over on a divided highway.

But a Shawnee County judge found no probable cause for the arrest and ordered Sullentrop released later Tuesday morning.

Suellentrop serves as Senate Majority Leader for the Kansas state legislature. He was first elected to the Kansas Senate in 2017 after serving several terms in the Kansas House of Representatives and represents a portion of northwest Wichita.

According to the Associated Press, Suellentrop was traveling in the wrong direction on Interstate 70 on an exit near downtown Topeka.

But Shawnee County District Judge Penny Moylan said during a brief first court appearance for Suellentrop that a police report did not contain "pertinent information." Suellentrop appeared by video conference from jail, and it was not clear whether he had hired an attorney.

The Capitol Police said Suellentrop's arrest occurred on Interstate 70 near an exit north of downtown. Highway Patrol Lt. Candice Breshears said in an email to The AP that Suellentrop's SUV was traveling the wrong direction in the highway's westbound lanes. Breshears said there was "a short pursuit."

Suellentrop is a 68-year-old business owner who has served in the Legislature since 2009.

The Associated Press also reports Kansas Senate President Ty Masterson's office was aware of the arrest and gathering additional information.