Judge releases Kansas Senate leader from Wichita in first hearing on DUI charge

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TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) – A judge has released Kansas Senate Majority Leader Gene Suellentrop Tuesday morning in his first hearing, citing no probable cause to DUI charges after he was arrested.

Suellentrop, R-Wichita, was arrested on suspicion of DUI early Tuesday. According to Shawnee County jail records, he was booked at 3:55 a.m. following his arrest. He is facing charges of driving under the influence, fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer, speeding, and improper crossover on a divided highway.  

The Kansas Highway Patrol said Suellentrop was driving a white SUV and going the wrong way in the eastbound lanes of I-70.

Suellentrop’s district covers northwest Wichita and parts of northwest Sedgwick County. He is a 68-year-old business owner who served in the House for seven years before being elected to the Senate in 2016. He won re-election last year, and fellow GOP senators chose him as the chamber’s No. 2 leader in December.

Kansas Senate President Ty Masterson and Vice President Rick Wilborn issued a joint statement on Senate Majority Leader Gene Suellentrop’s arrest on Tuesday.

“This morning, we all learned that Senator Suellentrop had been arrested and subsequently released without charges. The underlying incident is certainly serious and very unfortunate. We will continue to pray for Gene and his family as we gather more information. The Senate continues to do our work on behalf of the people of Kansas.”

SENATE PRESIDENT TY MASTERSON & VICE PRESIDENT RICK WILBORN

Gov. Laura Kelly was asked on Wednesday if she had any comment on Suellentrop’s arrest and the judge letting him go.

“Well one, I don’t really want to really want to comment on Senator Suellentrop, but if you look at what the judge did, that’s pretty typical when at a first hearing if the paperwork is not essentially completed, and when you look at the timeframe, I don’t think that it was enough time to get all of that paperwork done, I expect that it will be and that this will come back up again.”

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