Blast of winter across Kansas…and other headlines from the Today in Kansas Report: October 10, 2019

Sacha SanguinettiOctober 10, 2019

Strong north wind has ushered in much colder air behind a cold front this morning. Temperatures in the 60s will fall through the 50s and into the 40s on north winds gusting over 35 mph. Temperatures in the upper 20s and low 30s will combine with gusty winds to drop wind chills into the teens and 20s across much of the area Friday morning. Be sure to bundle up and take action to protect sensitive plants.

Authorities are investigating a deadly standoff in Hutchinson.  Police responded to reports of a possible suicidal person yesterday morning. Officers heard three gunshots inside the home and surrounded the residence.  The Emergency Response Team later entered the home and found the man dead.

Police in Eastern Kansas  are investigating a pair of school threats.  Wyandotte County authorities learned a threat was made on social media against J.C. Harmon High School, but school officials later determined the threat was not credible.   A second threat was reported against Argentine Middle School, and that prompted an increased police presence at the school.

A student was arrested after making a gun symbol out of her fingers and pointing it at classmates.  The Shawnee Mission School District says the arrest of a 12-year-old female student at Westridge Middle School in Overland Park was not related to district policy.  School officials call the arrest a municipal police department decision.

A crash involving a van and a semi killed two people Wednesday night on a Marion County highway. According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, a 2005 Dodge Caravan was headed west on U.S. 50 Highway, on  the eastbound shoulder partially in the eastbound lane of traffic. An oncoming 2010 Kenworth semi collided with the van. The driver of the van and a passenger were both killed. They are identified as 84-year-old Cecil Gill Jr. from Hazel Crest, Illinois, and 20-year-old Dwayne Scott from St. Louis, Missouri. The crash happened Wednesday night at around 7:30 on U.S. 50 Highway in Marion County, a mile west of  U.S. 77 Highway.

A former ICE officer was indicted today on a charge of impersonating a federal officer. According to U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister, 42-year-old Andrew J. Pleviak is alleged to have tried to have a man who was arrested by the Kingman County Sheriff’s Department released from custody.  Juan Tapia-Alfaro was arrested after deputies allegedly found a Kansas driver’s license he fraudulently obtained using a birth certificate and Social Security number of a person living in Puerto Rico. On the same day, Pleviak is alleged to have called the Sheriff’s Department claiming to be a supervisor with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. In fact, Pleviak was no longer an ICE employee. In 2018, he was convicted of violating a federal computer security statute. On Sept. 3, 2019, Pleviak allegedly gave the Sheriff’s Department a letter on ICE letterhead claiming that Tapia-Alfaro was working as a confidential informant for the Drug Enforcement Administration and requesting charges be dropped. Sheriff’s Department officers saw through the ruse and arrested Pleviak on the spot. According to court records, Tapia-Alfaro said he knew Pleviak from doing work on Pleviak’s house. If convicted, Pleviak could face up to three years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000. The Kingman County Sheriff’s Office and Homeland Security Investigations investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney David Lind is prosecuting.

A Dodge City man is facing federal drug charges. According to U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister, 30-year-old Danny Del Real is charged in a superseding indictment with seven counts of distributing methamphetamine. The crimes are alleged to have occurred in 2018 and 2019 in Dodge City. If convicted, he could face a sentence of not less than 10 years and a fine up to $10 million on each count.

The Kansas Criminal Justice Coordinating Council has awarded grant funding to agencies across the state in an aeffort to create safer communities and improve criminal justice systems.The Federal Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) program provides critical funding to support a range of program areas such as law enforcement, corrections, drug treatment and enforcement, technology improvement, prevention activities, crime victim services and mental health programs. A total of $2,488,170 was awarded to 28 agencies. Included among those is the 28th Judicial District Community Corrections, receiving $83,690.

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