Stepped-up law enforcement near Kansas High Schools…and other headlines from the Today in Kansas Report: February 25, 2019

Jackson SchneiderFebruary 25, 2019

Law enforcement across Kansas are increasing their presence near high schools.  Authorities say the stepped-up enforcement starts today and will run through March 8th.  The effort is designed to raise awareness about roadway safety, and drivers will be ticketed for speeding, not wearing a seat belt and texting while driving.  Car crashes are the leading cause of death in the U.S. for teens between the ages of 15 and 18-years-old.

Much of the state is digging out following a major snow storm.  Saturday’s storm dropped heavy snow on northern and western Kansas.  Snowfall totals ranged up to nearly one foot around Hays and Garden City, while some areas near the Nebraska border received up to nine inches of frozen precipitation.  Numerous roads were temporarily closed in the aftermath of the storm including Interstate-70 from Salina west to the Colorado state line.

Two people were killed when their car crashed on a snow packed road. According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, a car headed east on U.S. 50 Highway near the Ford County Community of Wright lost control, went left of center, and was hit by an oncoming semi on Saturday night. A 21-year-old man and 21-year-old woman, both from Dodge City, were killed in the crash. The driver of the semi was not hurt.

A missing Derby woman was found dead.  74-year-old Juanita Stecher went missing Friday night. She was not heard from again after she called family to say she was stuck in the mud and was unsure where she was. She was found dead later in Reno County.

A plane was forced to make an emergency landing at Eisenhower National airport in Wichita.  Officials say an aircraft flying into Wichita experienced problems with its landing gear.  The aircraft was able to land safely.  Two people were aboard the plane, but no injuries were reported.

A plane which  took off from the Colby airport was forced to make an emergency landing. According to the Kansa Highway Patrol, after something went wrong with the plane the pilot tried to re-land at the airport but was unable to do so. The plane slid to a stop northwest of the airport. The pilot was not seriously injured.

No one will face criminal charges in the death of a young boy who was decapitated on a waterslide in Kansas.  A federal judge has thrown out charges against the owners, designers and builders of the slide where ten-year-old Caleb Schwab died in 2016 while riding what was billed as the tallest waterslide in the world.  The judge ruled on Friday that prosecutors brought in illegal evidence that should not have been presented to the grand jury.  The 170-foot tall waterslide was demolished last year at the Schlitterbahn Water Park. The company that owned it paid a nearly 20-million dollar settlement to the boy’s family in 2017.

A Kansan is an Oscar award winner. “BlacKkKlansman,” which KU’s Kevin Willmott co-wrote with Spike Lee, won the best adapted screenplay Academy Award Sunday night. Kevin Willmott grew up in Junction City. He earned a bachelors degree from Marymount College in Salina and a master’s degree from New York University. He currently is an associate professor in the Film Studies Department at KU.






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