Headlines for Wednesday, May 30, 2018
2 Die in Wrong-Way Collision; 1 Was Topeka Police Officer
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Highway Patrol says two people, including an off-duty Topeka police officer, died in a wrong-way, head-on collision. The patrol says the crash occurred Tuesday afternoon just north of Topeka. A third person riding in one of the vehicles was seriously injured. The victims were identified Wednesday as 72-year-old Peter Bieri, of Lawrence, and 25-year-old Trey McCluskey, of Topeka. The patrol says Bieri was driving north in the southbound lanes when the collision occurred. McCluskey and Bieri died at the scene. A passenger in McCluskey's car, 25-year-old Taylor McCluskey, was hospitalized with serious injuries. The patrol continues to investigate the crash. The Topeka police department issued a statement Tuesday thanking the community for its support.
15-Year-Old Georgia Girl Dies in UTV Crash in Kansas
SALINA, Kan. (AP) — 15-year-old girl from Georgia was killed during the holiday weekend when the utility terrain vehicle she was driving crashed in Saline County. Saline County Sheriff Roger Soldan says Taylor Patterson, of Woodstock, Georgia, died Sunday when she lost control of the vehicle on a country road. Soldan says it's unclear why she lost control of the vehicle. The vehicle overturned and Patterson was partially thrown off and pinned underneath. The Salina Journal reports Patterson was taken to Salina Regional Health Center, where she later died. A passenger in the vehicle, 60-year-old Tony Jennings, of Salina, also was taken to the Salina hospital. He was not listed as a patient Monday. Neither Patterson nor Jennings wore safety restraints.
Prosecutors Plan to Retry Woman in Topeka Double Homicide
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Prosecutors say they will retry a woman whose convictions in the 2002 shooting deaths of her ex-husband and his fiancee were overturned earlier this year by the Kansas Supreme Court. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay announced plans Wednesday to retry Dana Chandler. Chandler was convicted in 2012 of killing Michael Sisco and Karen Harkness in Topeka. But the state's high court ruled in April that Chandler was convicted after Shawnee County prosecutors falsely claimed Sisco had taken out a protection from abuse order against her before the killings. The justices wrote that prosecutors used the false claim and circumstantial evidence to support its theory that Chandler was dangerous.
Man Stationed at Fort Riley Drowns at Milford Lake
JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a 28-year-old soldier drowned at Milford Lake during the holiday weekend. Geary County Sheriff Tony Wolf says Jonathan Rivera, of Grandview Plaza, tried to swim across a cove at the south end of the lake but became exhausted and went under water. Authorities do not believe the drowning is suspicious. KSNT reports Rivera's mother, who arrived in the area from New York City Monday, says her son was a soldier stationed at Fort Riley.
Authorities Unsure of Boat Driver in Crash that Killed 3 from Kansas
CAMDEN, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri State Highway Patrol now says it's unsure who was driving a boat that struck a rock bluff on the Lake of the Ozarks in central Missouri, killing three friends from Kansas. A Kansas man, 22-year-old Hayden Frazier, of Overland Park, was arrested after the crash on May 19 but was never charged. At the time, investigators said Frazier was driving the boat. On Tuesday, the patrol said its preliminary report has been revised to list the driver as unknown. Investigators intend to reconstruct the accident as the investigation continues. The patrol didn't indicate why the report was changed. Those killed were 23-year-old Joseph LeMark and 24-year-old Daniel Lewis, both of Overland Park, and 21-year-old Hailey Hochanadel, of Olathe. Frazier and another woman on the boat were injured.
Maize Teacher Accused of Sexual Relations with Student
MAIZE, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas teacher faces several charges accusing him of sexual relations with a student. The Wichita Eagle reports that 44-year-old Johnny Paul Yelverton of Maize was charged last week with six counts of unlawful sexual relations between a teacher and a student 16 or older. Yelverton also is charged with one count of sexual exploitation of a child. Prosecutors say Yelverton had relations with a student in March and April, and possessed a sexually explicit image or recording of a child in May. A preliminary hearing is June 5. Yelverton taught fire science and law and public safety courses to Maize High School and Maize South High School students. He was named Kansas DARE officer of the year in 2015. At that time, he was working as a police officer.
Lawsuit: Prison Officials' Negligence Caused Loss of Colon
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A former Kansas inmate alleges in a lawsuit that most of her colon had to be removed because prison officials ignored her requests for medication. Sarah Loretta Cook, who is 68, filed the lawsuit this month against the Kansas Department of Corrections and its health care provider, Corizon Health. She says she asked for months for her needed medication but Corizon employees ignored evidence of her profuse bleeding and deteriorating medical condition. The Wichita Eagle reports Cook has had gastrointestinal conditions for decades. She says condition flared up while she was in the Topeka Correctional but she didn't receive the medication until days before her release. Her condition eventually required surgeons to remove most of her colon. The corrections department and Corizon declined to comment on the lawsuit.
2 Maintenance Workers Charged in Kansas Water Park Death
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) _ Two maintenance workers at a Kansas water park where a boy was decapitated have been indicted in the case. The indictments unsealed Wednesday charge David Hughes and John Zalsman with obstruction of justice. Both men pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Wyandotte County Court. Hughes was maintenance supervisor at the Schlitterbahn water park in Kansas City, Kansas, and Zalsman was on the maintenance staff. Ten-year-old Caleb Schwab was killed while riding the 17-story Verruckt waterslide in August 2016. The Kansas City Star reports the indictment involves whether a brake mat meant to slow the rafts on the Verruckt was repaired after it fell off days before Caleb was killed. The men allegedly told Kansas Bureau of Investigation agents the brake mat never existed but the indictment says a video showed it had been on the ride.
Police: Lawrence Officer Shoots Man in Traffic Stop Altercation
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Police in Lawrence say an officer shot a man who was pulled over for a suspected seat belt violation. The Johnson County Sheriff's Office says in a news release that the man was uncooperative with a Lawrence police officer and refused orders to get out of his vehicle Tuesday afternoon. Investigators say a struggle between the driver and an officer ensued and that the driver began beating the officer. Officials say that's when a second officer shot the driver once. The driver was taken to the hospital and is in stable condition. The Johnson County Sheriff's Office is investigating the shooting.
Wichita's Homicide Rate Nearly Doubled So Far This Year
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The homicide rate in Wichita so far this year is double that from the same time period last year. The Wichita Eagle reports 16 people were killed in Wichita between January and April. Three more people have been killed in May. Last year, eight people died from January through April. District Attorney Marc Bennett said recently that Wichita could be on track to record 55 to 60 homicides this year. Last year, 38 people were killed. Police say in most cases, the victims and suspects know each other. The homicides are frequently tied to drugs and many of the killings come after arguments that are often fueled by social media. At least four of this year's cases were walk- or drive-by shootings. Fourteen of the homicides were shootings.
Driver Dies When Truck Hits Downed Power Lines in Kansas
SATANTA, Kan. (AP) _ Authorities say a man from Texas died when his semi-trailer truck hit downed power lines in southwest Kansas. The Kansas Highway Patrol says 42-year-old Louis James Torres died Tuesday afternoon on a rural road about 17 miles north of Satanta in Haskell County. The patrol says Torres was driving on a road that had been closed when his tractor-trailer hit the power lines. KAKE-TV reports Torres, of Midland, Texas, was pronounced dead a short time later.
University of Kansas Slashes Lawrence Campus Budget by $20 Million
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The University of Kansas plans to cut $20 million from its Lawrence campus during the next fiscal year. The university announced Tuesday that the reductions will mean about a 5.9 budget decrease for all Lawrence campus units and departments. The cuts take effect July 1. It was not immediately clear if the reductions would lead to layoffs. The Lawrence Journal-World reports interim Provost Carl Lejuez said in a news release that the university remains committed to keeping tuition increases as low as possible, and to revising annual merit raises. University officials said the budget reductions were necessary because of long-term commitments and investments that have exceeded revenue. The university's announcement comes just weeks after Kansas State announced it would reduce its budget by $15 million.
Missouri Governor Who Vowed to Fight Scandal Resigns Instead
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Governor Eric Greitens had recounted his grueling training as a Navy SEAL officer while suggesting he would never quit fighting allegations of sexual misconduct and campaign finance violations. But Greitens announced Tuesday that he is resigning. His departure will become official at 5 pm Friday. His resignation allows Greitens to avoid the potentially dubious distinction of becoming the first Missouri governor ever impeached. A House investigatory committee had subpoenaed Greitens to testify next Monday. Some fellow Republicans had urged his resignation amid criminal and legislative investigations stemming from an extramarital affair and campaign finance questions. Greitens' departure will give Republicans a chance to reunify at the start of a summer campaign season in which they're seeking to unseat Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill.
Fellow Military Vet to Succeed Greitens as Missouri Governor
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Eric Greitens' planned resignation as Missouri governor has elevated another Republican military veteran to the office, but one with more experience in working with state lawmakers. Mike Parson will automatically rise from lieutenant governor to governor on Friday when Greitens steps down. Greitens had faced possibly being impeached by the state House over investigations of his political and personal life. The 62-year-old Parson spent 12 years representing southwest Missouri in the Legislature, where he was a strong abortion opponent, supported the National Rifle Association and successfully pressed for a constitutional amendment benefiting farmers. He's also a former Missouri sheriff. The 44-year-old Greitens was a political novice when elected governor in 2016. He came into office criticizing "corrupt career politicians" and repeatedly clashed with fellow Republicans.
Kansas Sees Dozens of Births by Jailed Women in Past 4 Years
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas jails are facing a rising likelihood of births behind bars amid a nationwide increase in women's incarceration. The Hutchinson News reports that the Kansas Department of Corrections saw more than 45 babies delivered by women in its custody in the past four years. That comes as the Bureau of Justice Statistics reports the number of incarcerated women in the U.S. has been increasing at a rate 50 percent higher than men since 1980. Eight states have nursery programs allowing new mothers to raise children while serving time. Columbia University researchers found mothers participating in such programs had lower recidivism rates. But in Kansas, new mothers behind bars must give up their babies to the Department of Children and Families and can only see them on visitation days. The agency has recently been scrutinized for missing children.
Prosecutor: No Charges Yet Filed in Death of Kansas Boy
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A prosecutor says the stepmother of a 5-year-old Kansas boy whose body was found three months after he was reported missing is expected to be released from jail without charges. Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett released a statement Wednesday afternoon saying no charges have been filed in the death of Lucas Hernandez, whose body was found under a bridge May 24 on a gravel road in Harvey County. Within hours of the discovery, the boy's stepmother, Emily Glass, was arrested and has been held since on suspicion of obstruction and interference of a law enforcement officer. Police had said Glass led a private investigator to Lucas's body. Glass reported Lucas missing from their home on February 17. Bennett said investigators will continue to "follow up on newly developed leads" and that final autopsy results — including those from toxicology tests — are not yet available.
10 States Back Arkansas' Court Fight over Lawmaker Testimony
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Ten states back Arkansas' argument that lawmakers should not be forced to provide documents or testify regarding a state law that prevents cities and counties from banning discrimination against LGBT people. The states on Tuesday asked to file a brief in support of Arkansas before the state Supreme Court, which last year halted efforts by the university city of Fayetteville and the American Civil Liberties Union to seek the documents and testimony from the two legislators who sponsored the 2015 law. The states requesting to file the brief are Texas, Alabama, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma and Kentucky. The Arkansas Supreme Court struck down Fayetteville's anti-discrimination ordinance last year, saying it violates the law. But justices didn't rule on the constitutionality of the law itself.
Bayer Selling $9 Billion in Ag Business Ahead of Monsanto Merger
WASHINGTON (AP) — German pharmaceutical giant Bayer AG has agreed to the U.S. government's demand that it sell about $9 billion in agriculture businesses as condition for acquiring Monsanto Co., a U.S. seed and weed-killer maker. Antitrust regulators at the Justice Department say it's the biggest divestiture ever required for a merger. The regulators say they directed Bayer to divest assets such as vegetable oils, seeds and seed treatments to ensure fair competition in the market after the massive agriculture business deal goes through. The assets will be sold to BASF, a German chemical company. Bayer's $57 billion takeover of Monsanto has been watched by competitors, farmers and environmental groups, which are fearful that the number of players in the business of selling seeds and pesticides will shrink further.
Police: Man Killed in 4-Vehicle Crash on I-70 in Kansas City
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The driver of a pickup truck has died in a four-vehicle crash on Interstate 70 in Kansas City. Television station KMBC reports that the crash happened early Wednesday morning. Police say the pickup had stalled in the eastbound lanes of the interstate when it was hit from behind by a car, forcing it down an embankment. The car was then rear-ended by a sport utility vehicle. Police say a fourth car hit debris from the wreckage and the pickup driver's body. Police said they didn't know if the pickup driver was thrown from his vehicle in the crash or was outside it when the crash happened. He died at the scene. The driver one car was taken to a hospital with minor injuries. The other surviving drivers were not hurt.
Kansas Underground Tunnel May Link to Bonnie and Clyde
HUGOTON, Kan. (AP) — Leaders in a southwest Kansas town say a recently dug up underground tunnel was likely used by 20th century outlaws Bonnie and Clyde. The Wichita Eagle reports that Hugoton officials last month discovered a partially collapsed tunnel under a building the couple frequented. The tunnel didn't contain any direct artifacts from the criminal pair, but town leaders plan to continue digging. Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow are reported to have spent time in Hugoton during the late 1920s and early 1930s. Town leaders say Clyde worked in a farmer's field while Bonnie ran a cafe, where locals believe the couple ran a bootlegging operation. Jan Leonard is the executive director of Stevens County Economic Development. He hopes to eventually create a tourist attraction related to the duo's history in Hugoton.
4 White Peregrine Falcons Hatched in Topeka Get Bands
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Four fluffy, white peregrine falcon chicks that hatched less than a month ago in Topeka are growing and healthy. Officials on Monday but bands on the four chicks, which hatched on a nest near the top of the 12-story Westar Energy building. The Topeka Capital-Journal report s this is the first time four eggs hatched. Usually one to three eggs have hatched. It's the eighth consecutive year the falcons nested in a box Westar provides. The chicks' parents are falcons named Nemaha and Boreas. The chicks' genders are not yet known. Several Westar employees and wildlife specialist helped with the banding Monday. The goal is to allow wildlife experts to track the birds as they grow older. Brad Loveless, environmental specialist for Westar, said the falcons are about 20 days old.
Azubuike Withdraws from Draft, Set for Junior Year at Kansas
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Kansas forward Udoka Azubuike withdrew his name from the NBA draft on Wednesday, choosing to return for his junior season after participating in the combine. The 7-footer from Nigeria started 34 games last season, averaging 13 points and seven rebounds. He shot 77 percent from the field, a Big 12 record and the best mark in the nation. Azubuike is a traditional back-to-the-basket big man, and scouts have wondered how his skills would transfer to the NBA. The league's up-tempo pace and the value placed on big men who can shoot from outside go against his strengths, and developing an outside shot will likely be an emphasis at Kansas. Azubuike said in a statement that he received "good feedback from many sources around the NBA over the last month." He did not hire an agent and had until Wednesday's deadline to withdraw.