TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT/KSNW) – A court document made public Thursday claims that Gene Suellentrop’s blood had an alcohol content of .17, more than twice the legal limit when he was allegedly found driving the wrong way in the eastbound lanes of I-70 in Topeka in March.
The probable cause affidavit refers to Suellentrop as being confused, driving 90 miles an hour, and calling officers names.
911 callers initially reported seeing a white SUV driving west in the eastbound lanes of I-470 starting near Wanamaker Road and minutes later on I-70 around 12:45 a.m. March 16.
The officer who detailed the incident writes that he tried a tactical maneuver twice to stop the wrong-way vehicle. He says it was successful on the second attempt.
He says the driver did not respond to commands to turn off the vehicle and to exit it. The officer who was working for the Kansas Highway Patrol says that when he and two Topeka police officers approached the vehicle, he noticed that the driver appeared to be confused.
“As I approached the driver, he had his left hand out the window and looked back at me with a confused, frightened, blank stare,” wrote Officer Austin Shepley, KHP. “He was not registering my commands or responding to them.”
Shepley says that as they got the driver out of the vehicle, they could smell alcohol.
Shepley says the Kansas driver’s license in the man’s wallet identified him as Gene Suellentrop. Suellentrop is a Wichita senator who is the Republican Kansas Senate Majority Leader.
The officer says a standard field sobriety test was not conducted due to the location of the traffic stop. He said the safety of the suspect and the public was a concern.
When Shepley took Suellentrop to the Docking Building for further testing, he says Suellentrop “had trouble with his motor skills getting out (of the vehicle) and lost his balance, almost falling over.” He also says Suellentrop had trouble sitting down in the intoxilyzer room and stumbled, almost missing the chair.
Shepley says Suellentrop refused to provide a breath sample. Shepley submitted a search warrant for a blood sample. A judge approved the warrant.
Shepley says that while in the intoxilyzer room, Suellentrop called him “donut boy” and said, “All for going the wrong way.”
The officer took Suellentrop to a hospital to get the blood sample. The sample went to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation lab. The results came back on March 22.
Suellentrop is a 68-year-old business owner who served in the Kansas House for seven years before being elected to the Senate in 2016.
Suellentrop won re-election last year, and fellow GOP senators chose him as the chamber’s No. 2 leader in December.