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Archive for Saturday, October 7, 2000

Lawrence Briefs

October 7, 2000

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Turnpike gate crash kills Topeka driver

A Topeka woman was killed Friday morning in a three-car collision at the South Topeka gate of the Kansas Turnpike.

A vehicle driven by Patricia T. Winterheimer, 49, rear-ended a vehicle at 5:40 a.m. at the turnpike entryway that in turn rear-ended a third vehicle. Winterheimer was pronounced dead at the scene.

Drivers of those vehicles suffered minor injuries. C. Quinlan Halbeisen, 72, of Topeka, was in the second car and suffered a broken arm; he was transported to St. Francis Hospital in Topeka. The hospital had no record of treatment for Halbeisen Friday night. The driver of the third vehicle, David W. Sayyae, 35, of Topeka was taken to Stormont-Vail Regional Health Center in Topeka, where he was treated and released for cuts and bruises.

Student reports attempted rape by acquaintance

A Kansas University student told police that an acquaintance tried to rape her early Thursday.

Lawrence Police Det. M.T. Brown said the 19-year-old woman told police she went with the man, also a KU student, to a bar Wednesday night and they drank together. They returned to his apartment, in the 1600 block of West Ninth Street, after the bar closed.

"She could not drive, she said, so she asked to stay there," Brown said.

The woman told officers she got sick, then went to his bed to sleep. He joined her then tried to have sex with her.

"At one point, he held her hands down," Brown said. "She struggled. She had to push him and get away."

Brown said police have contacted the suspect, who had a more innocent version of events. Officers will send the report to the district attorney's office for a decision on charges.

High school student's boyfriend reports threat

A Lawrence High School student told police he found a threatening note in his girlfriend's car Tuesday in the school's parking lot.

Lawrence Police Det. M.T. Brown said the note was composed of letters cut from newspaper headlines.

"You have nothing to worry about, but your boyfriend does," the note said.

The 17-year-old boy told police he suspects a former acquaintance of his girlfriend. "He said this has happened before," Brown said.

Infant in state custody as abuse probe continues

A baby girl whose parents are suspected of fracturing her skull has been released from the hospital and into state custody, police say.

Lawrence Police Det. M.T. Brown said Friday that a forensic pediatrician will examine the girl, now 2 months old and weighing about 5 pounds.

"She already had a host of medical problems, because she was born premature," Brown said.

The girl's parents a Lawrence couple in their 20s took her to Lawrence Memorial Hospital Sept. 29 with the skull fracture. Hospital officials alerted police after the parents didn't provide a consistent explanation of the injury.

Brown said the girl is now in the custody of the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services. She has been placed in the care of a grandmother pending the outcome of the police investigation.

Noria Road reopens

East 1750 Road, commonly called Noria Road, east of the East Hills Business Park, reopened on Friday. The road had been closed for several weeks for construction.

KU offers free dance lessons

Kansas University's annual Day of Dance will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today in the Robinson Center dance studios.

Day of Dance offers junior and senior high school students from Kansas free ballet, jazz and modern dance classes taught by KU dance faculty members Muriel Cohan, Janet Hamburg, Jerel Hilding and Willie Lenoir.

The class schedule is intermediate/advanced ballet with Hilding and beginning/intermediate modern dance with Hamburg, 10 a.m.; intermediate/advanced jazz with Lenoir, 11:30 a.m.; beginning/intermediate ballet with Hilding, 11:45 a.m.; dance improvisation with Cohan, 2 p.m.; and beginning/intermediate jazz with Lenoir, 2:30 p.m.

Classes are almost full, but students can register by simply showing up for classes today.

Former lobbyist indicted on federal charges

Federal prosecutors have indicted a former employee of the state's top lobbying firm on three counts of mail fraud.

Alan Steppat, 50, Topeka, appeared Friday morning in U.S. District Court. He was released on $50,000 bond.

Steppat was a lobbyist for Pete McGill and Associates. Prosecutors say that between 1996 and 1998, Steppat used the firm's bank accounts and credit cards to pay more than $150,000 in personal debts and expenses, including child support and credit card bills, using the U.S. mail to send the checks.

The firm has already sued Steppat over the matter, and Steppat countersued, saying his credibility had been unfairly damaged.

If convicted, Steppat faces up to five years in federal prison without parole.

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