LIBERTY, Missouri (AP) – A powerful Kansas lawmaker charged with drunk driving had a blood alcohol level twice the legal limit and taunted the highway patrol officer who arrested him the month last for allegedly speeding on a freeway, according to documents released Thursday.
Kansas GOP Senate Majority Leader Gene Suellentrop faces five counts, including a felony fled to avoid arrest and a driving misdemeanor under the influence charge stemming from his arrest on 16 March on Interstate 70 to Topeka.
An affidavit submitted by Austin Shepley, a Kansas Highway Patrol soldier, said tests showed Suellentrop’s blood alcohol level was 0.17. The legal limit is 0.08.
After Suellentrop, 69, refused to take a breathalyzer test, he was taken to a hospital in Topeka. At one point he called Shepley a “donut boy”, according to the affidavit, and said the events were “all to have gone wrong.”
“As the phlebotomist administered the blood kit, Gene Suellentop’s demeanor becoming slightly aggressive in his tone, he referred to a physical confrontation against me,” Shepley said. “He looked me up and down, stating that he played competitive state sports in high school. He said he could “take me”. “
Suellentrop’s office said it would issue a statement later Thursday. His lawyer, Tom Lemon, did not immediately return a phone message asking for comment.
Suellentrop holds the second highest leadership position in the state Senate, and the majority leader decides which proposals are debated each day. He stepped down from most of his legislative duties until the criminal case was resolved.
Suellentrop was not at the Statehouse Thursday afternoon and will be out on Friday, according to GOP staff members.
In the affidavit, Shepley said he initially saw Suellentrop driving west in the eastbound lanes of Interstate 470 and narrowly saw him miss another car. The soldier said he too had to swerve to avoid Suellentrop’s car. The ensuing chase reached speeds of up to 90 mph in the 65 mph zone.
Shepley, with the help of Topeka cops, eventually used a tactical maneuver to force Suellentrop to stop on Interstate 70.
Shepley said that when he approached the car, Suellentrop looked at him with a “confused, scared, empty” look and did not respond to commands to get out of the car. The patroller said he smelled alcohol inside Suellentrop’s vehicle.
A Topeka police officer and Shepley removed Suellentrop from the car and handcuffed him. The soldier could not understand what Suellentrop was saying because he was muttering with difficulty in speaking, according to the affidavit.
Because the car was pulled over in a dangerous location, Suellentrop was taken to a state building for further testing, and the senator had difficulty walking while he was there, according to the affidavit. Suellentrop refused to take a breathalyzer test, so Shepley obtained a search warrant and took him to the hospital for the blood test.
The Wichita Republican was released later today after a Shawnee County District Court judge found in an initial hearing that “relevant information” was not included in the arrest report , meaning that there was no probable reason to support his arrest.
Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay again filed a complaint against him last week.