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Archive for Sunday, July 22, 2001

Region Briefs

July 22, 2001

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Topeka: DUI offender pleads no contest in fatality

A man with two prior DUI convictions has pleaded no contest to involuntary manslaughter while driving under the influence of alcohol.

In exchange for the plea entered Friday by Cameron M. Sobke, 21, of Grantville, additional charges of failure to stop at an injury accident, driving with a suspended license and driving without liability insurance were dismissed.

Sobke will be sentenced Aug. 17 in Shawnee County District Court in the June 8 accident that killed a motorcyclist, Clarence Collingham, 50, of Topeka.

Karen Wittman, an assistant district attorney, said Sobke's blood-alcohol content was measured at 0.25 percent shortly after the accident, more than three times the level considered evidence of intoxication.

Wittman said she is recommending a 12-year prison sentence because of Sobke's previous DUI convictions. Sobke faces trial this month in another DUI case.

Topeka: Officer gets probation for raping inmates

A former Shawnee County corrections officer got probation for having sex with two female inmates, but he has to spend 60 days in jail in another county.

Patrick W. Jones, 36, was sentenced and lectured sternly Friday by Shawnee County District Judge Charles Andrews, who said Jones had victimized the two women as well as his profession.

"You have helped rape not only two young women, but the community," the judge said. "You should be ashamed of that."

Jones resigned in December after 12 years as a corrections officer.

He had been charged with raping one of the women, 22, and with three counts of aggravated criminal sodomy against the other, 32.

At his preliminary hearing, they testified that he sexually assaulted them in an isolated storage room.

Jones pleaded guilty Jan. 5 to two counts of intentional aggravated battery and two counts of unlawful sexual relations.

BONNER SPRINGS: Pedestrian hit on I-435 had gone off medication

Mental illness played a role in the death of a woman struck by an 18-wheeler Thursday on Interstate 435 in Kansas City, Kan., the woman's daughter said.

Cindy Deleon's bipolar disorder explains why she wandered away naked from her nearby house and ended up in the path of a tractor-trailer, the daughter said.

"She had it all her life," said Jennifer Kelley of Bonner Springs. "She quit taking her medication. That's how it got worse."

Deleon told family members earlier in the week that she had dropped off the medicine, Kelley said.

Motorists reported to police just before 5 a.m. Thursday that a woman was walking along Parallel Parkway, Kansas Highway Patrol Sgt. Dan Meyer said. While police searched, Deleon reached the highway and was hit.

Olathe : Caretaker sentenced for group home deaths

A group home employee was sentenced Friday to 5 1/2 years in prison for the deaths of two disabled men in his care.

The victims were left in a sweltering car for hours last September as temperatures outside topped 100.

Judge John Anderson III imposed the maximum consecutive sentences for Cedric D. James, 26, who was convicted in May of two counts of involuntary manslaughter.

Although the deaths were unintentional, Michael O'Neal, 55, and Steven Warren, 34, died in a "brutal and outrageous manner," Anderson said. Neither victim had the physical or mental ability to get out of the car without help.

James, an employee of the Merriam group home where O'Neal and Warren lived, took the men on an outing Sept. 2 when temperatures soared.

Instead of taking the men to a restaurant, James drove them to his Kansas City apartment complex, prosecutors said.

Investigators estimate he was at his apartment for up to four hours while the men waited in the car. Investigators later measured temperatures inside the vehicle as high as 140 degrees under similar conditions.

St. Louis : Alderman urinates during heated debate

Police were considering whether to issue a citation against city alderman Irene Smith, who apparently urinated into a trash can during floor debate at City Hall.

One of her colleagues, alderman Thomas Bauer, filed a police complaint against Smith for her action. Bauer said he wants an investigation into whether Smith violated a city ordinance that prohibits public urination.

Violations carry a fine of up to $500 and up to 90 days in jail.

During a meeting Tuesday, Smith and three other board members were trying to hold up debate over a redistricting plan they said would hurt blacks.

Acting aldermanic president James Shrewsbury ruled Smith must yield if she left for a rest room break. So about 40 minutes later, her aides surrounded her with a sheet, tablecloth and quilt while she appeared to use a trash can to relieve herself.

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