Fatal crash on I-70 near Hays Saturday…and other headlines from the Today in Kansas Report: September 16, 2019

Sacha SanguinettiSeptember 16, 2019

A woman from Missouri was killed in a wrong-way crash along Interstate 70 in Western Kansas early Saturday afternoon involving a car and two semis. According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, 40-year-old Monica Miller from Columbia, Missouri, was driving a 2007 Saturn Ion headed east. She crossed the median and struck the front end of a 2015 Volvo semi.  The car then spun down the side of the semi, hit a second semi, and was pushed to the north shoulder of the westbound lanes. Miller was killed in the crash. No one else was hurt. The crash happened just before 1:00 Saturday afternoon, nine miles west of Hays in Ellis County on Interstate 70.

A shooting death in Garden City remains under investigation. 69-year-old Ernest Ortiz was found suffering from a gunshot wound in the east parking lot entrance of his business, the El Conquistador Restaurant. Ortiz later died at a hospital. Police believe this could be a possible robbery.  The Garden City Police Department is requesting assistance from the community. If you witnessed this incident, or have information related to this incident, you are asked to contact the  Garden  City  Police  Department at (620) 276-1300.  If  you  wish  to  remain anonymous you can call Crime Stoppers (620) 275-7807, or text your tip to Garden City PD, text GCTIP and your tip to Tip411 (847411).

An Ohio man is sentenced in connection with a deadly swatting case in Kansas. A judge sentenced 19-year-old Casey Viner on Friday to 15 months in federal prison for one count of conspiracy and one count of obstructing justice.  Viner admitted to arguing with co-defendant Shane Gaskill while playing an online computer game in December 2017 and asking another co-defendant, Tyler Barriss, to swat Gaskill.  Barriss’ fake 911 call led Wichita police to the home of Andrew Finch believing that a man at the home had shot his own father and was holding others hostage. Finch was shot and killed by officers during the incident.

A motorcycle rider was hurt when he crashed while fleeing police in South Central Kansas. According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, 21-year-old Skyler Rupp from Wichita was riding a 2004 Suzuki motorcycle fleeing Mount Hope Police on a rural road in Reno County.  He lost control of the bike and crashed. Rupp suffered a suspected serious injury. He was transported to a Wichita hospital. The chase and crash happened Saturday afternoon at around 2:15 in Reno County,  six miles south of KS-96 on Obee Road.

Two people were hurt in a three-vehicle head-on crash in which the driver who caused it fled the scene late Sunday night. According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, a 2006 Nissan Maxima was going the wrong way, headed east in the westbound lane of K18 Highway. The Nissan struck two on-coming vehicles, a 2013 Chevrolet Cruze and a 2005 Nissan Altima, head-on. Patrol says the driver of the Maxima, identified as 20-year-old Rodriguez Acosta of Manhattan, fled the scene following the crash. A male passenger in his car suffered a suspected serious injury. Authorities were not immediately able to determine the injured passenger’s full name. A second person, a passenger in the Chevrolet Cruze, also suffered a suspected serious injury. She is identified as 17-year-old Hannah Burkhart of Fort Riley. No one in the Altima was hurt. The crash happened Sunday night shortly after 9:00 on K18 Highway in Geary County about three miles from Interstate 70.

Kansas State Fair officials are planning to re-evaluate the event’s gun policy.  KSNW reports that fair organizers are examining the firearms policy because concert security concerns could conflict with state law.  Concertgoers at this year’s Kansas State Fair had to undergo screening at country music singer Billy Currington’s concert because the performer required it in his contract.

With fall approaching, a Kansas State University veterinarian says homeowners and pet owners need to be cautious of bats, which are a leading transmitter of rabies. According to the Centers for Disease Control, bats are responsible for roughly 7 in 10 rabies deaths among people who are infected with the rabies virus in the U.S. The CDCsays that many people do not realize that bats can transmit rabies and don’t seek treatment when exposed to one. They often also don’t know that they have been bitten or scratched by a bat because of the small wounds that they leave. Bats are a problem for animals as well, accounting for one-third of the 5,000 rabid animals that are reported in the U.S. each year.

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