Suspect Charged After Wichita Police Officer Run Over
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The man suspected of running over a Wichita police officer during a pursuit is now charged with aggravated battery of a law enforcement officer. During his first appearance in Sedgwick County Court yesterday (FRI), 31-year-old Justin Terrazas also was charged with fleeing and eluding police and various drug charges. Terrazas was arrested Tuesday after officer Brian Arterburn was injured when he was hit by a fleeing vehicle as he placed tire-deflation devices on a road in south Wichita. Arterburn, a 25-year veteran, remained in critical condition Friday at a Wichita hospital. He suffered injuries to his chest, abdomen and brain. Terrazas' next court appearance is scheduled for February 23rd.
Lawyer Admits to Conspiracy Against KC Hospital
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City lawyer admitted conspiring with his former law partner to steal money from St. Luke's Health Systems. Mark Schultz pleaded guilty yesterday (FRI) to conspiracy. His former law partner, Alan Gallas, pleaded guilty last April to mail fraud and was sentenced yesterday (FRI) to one year in federal prison. Gallas also was ordered to pay restitution of about $1.2 million. The Kansas City Star reports the men collected money for the health system from patients who were behind on payments. Rather than forwarding the money to St. Luke's, Gallas directed more than $1.2 million be transferred to the law firm. Attorneys don't agree on how much money Schultz helped withhold. Gallas has been disbarred in Kansas and Missouri. Schultz's law licenses are still active in the two states.
Kansas Man Pleads No Contest in "Zombie" Murder
OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A 38-year-old man who said he beat his roommate to death because he thought she was a zombie pleaded no contest to second-degree murder. Christopher Duane Wallace entered the plea yesterday (FRI) in the January 2016 strangling and beating death of 35-year-old Jennifer Lopez in Overland Park. A Johnson County judge then found Wallace guilty of the charge and scheduled sentencing for April 3rd. The Kansas City Star reports Wallace told police he had fallen asleep after taking methamphetamine. Court documents say he said he began beating Lopez when she woke him up because he thought she was a zombie. He told police he kept beating Lopez until "something made him stop."
Kansas Police Chief Injured in Freak Accident
WILSON, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Highway Patrol says a central Kansas police chief was injured after an unoccupied police car struck him. The patrol say 69-year-old Wilson Police Chief Robert Charles Doepp was hurt early yesterday (FRI) on a highway one mile east of Wilson. The Hays Post reports a vehicle driven by 39-year-old Amanda Ann Thrasher, of Wilson, struck an Ellsworth County Sheriff's vehicle that was parked and unoccupied. That vehicle then hit an unoccupied Wilson police vehicle, which hit Doepp. Doepp was taken to Ellsworth County Medical Center, which declined to release his condition.
Vintage Plane on Display at Wichita Aviation Museum
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A nearly 90-year-old restored airplane has been dedicated in a new exhibit at the Kansas Aviation Museum. The Wichita Eagle reports the Watkins Skylark was first built in Wichita in 1931 and is the only one out of Everett Watkins' six planes to survive today. The grandson of Everett, Brad Watkins, says the plane was sold to Frank Powell of El Dorado in 1931 but was involved in a crash two years later. Everett decided to shut down his aviation company after the accident. Marvin Kline of Milan, Kansas, called the museum some years ago saying he had pieces of the plane stored on his farm from when his uncle collected them. After over a dozen years of rebuilding and restoration, the plane was unveiled at the museum Thursday.
2016 Midwest Wildfire Cost Kansas County $1.5 Million
MEDICINE LODGE, Kan. (AP) — Fighting a wildfire that scorched nearly 600 square miles in Kansas and Oklahoma last year cost the hardest hit county $1.5 million. The Hutchinson News reports that Kansas' Barber County is seeking federal help to recoup part of the expense. The blaze started last March in Oklahoma and spread into rural Kansas. About $400,000 of the cost was for four National Guard helicopters, which dropped water on the fire over two days. County emergency management director Jerry McNamar says money also was spent for fuel, repairs, food and water. Little went toward wages because the county's volunteer firefighters earn just $15 a run. McNamar says 750 to 800 cattle died in the county. He also says at least 2,700 miles of fence — worth $27 million — was destroyed.