Heavy rain leads to flooding in several Kansas communities…and other headlines from the Today in Kansas Report: May 8, 2019

Sacha SanguinettiMay 8, 2019

Strong thunderstorms are continuing to impact Kansas.  Heavy rain, large hail and strong winds moved through the southern and central parts of the state yesterday.  Officials in Cowley County say strong winds caused a train derailment near Highway 77 yesterday evening.  Flooding was also reported in several communities. Storms are likely again today across parts of the state with heavy rain  and flooding remaining the biggest threat.

Seven people are injured after their van was struck by a teenager suspected of driving drunk.  The 17-year-old suspect was traveling in Wichita yesterday afternoon when the teen allegedly ran a stop sign and collided with a van transporting people with disabilities.  The seven people in the van were taken to a hospital with serious, but non-life-threatening injuries.  The teen suspect was taken into custody.

A Kansas lawmaker is under arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol.  State Senator Vic Miller was arrested after his vehicle was found crashed in a ditch near Interstate-70 in Topeka late Monday night.  Miller was uninjured, but he was booked into the Shawnee County Jail on suspicion of DUI and inattentive driving.  Miller, a Topeka Democrat, replaced Laura Kelly in the state Senate after Kelly was elected governor.

A registered sex offender is accused of trying to kidnap an eight-year-old girl in Wichita.  Police say 39-year-old Daniel Alden Withrow grabbed the victim on Sunday outside the White Glove Inn in Wichita and pulled her into a storage shed.  The girl screamed for help, and the suspect fled.  Withrow was arrested at his home on Monday.

A Kansas man was sentenced to more than 27 years in prison after pleading guilty to attempted murder and related charges, 48-year-old Jeffery Scott Guenther was sentenced  to a total of 327 months in the Kansas Department of Corrections. The crimes occurred in October 2017 in connection with an escape from the Marshall County jail. Matson Zane Hatfield, 31, of Marysville, was sentenced to more than 47 years in prison on related charges in November of last year.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt says legislative approval of a bill to create a Kansas Youth Suicide Prevention Coordinator is an important step in helping stem the rising number of child and teen suicides in Kansas. In June 2018, Schmidt and the Tower Mental Health Foundation formed a task force to survey efforts underway in Kansas to reduce the incidence of youth suicide and provide recommendations on further steps that could be taken. In 2016, the most recent year for which data is available from the State Child Death Review Board, the number of suicides in Kansas by persons 18 years of age or younger was 20 at a rate of 3.0 deaths per 100,000 population. Unfortunately, this continued the steady increase since 2005, which had eight suicides at a rate of 1.1 deaths per 100,000 population.

A Kansas  high school baseball player is recovering after collapsing on the field.  Olathe West sophomore Brennan Connell was pitching in a baseball game at Blue Valley Southwest on Monday night when he collapsed and went into apparent cardiac arrest.  A woman attending the game used a defibrillator to revive the 16-year-old, who was taken to a hospital for treatment.

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