Archive for Thursday, January 23, 2003

Teen convicted in death says stepdad bought drinks

Lawrence resident killed in 2000 drunken driving wreck

January 23, 2003


A teenager convicted two years ago of killing a Lawrence woman while driving drunk told a Douglas County jury Wednesday his stepfather bought him alcohol hours before the accident.

Sean Scott, who was 16 on Sept. 16, 2000, the day of the accident, said his stepfather, Lawrence Rieke, 54, bought a round of beers for family members and friends while they were at The Wheel, 507 W. 14th St.

"I don't know the exact words, but I know he asked for beers to be brought to the table," said Scott, now 18.

Rieke of Merriam is being tried on six misdemeanor counts of providing alcohol to a minor. During the first day of testimony before Judge Robert Fairchild, Kansas University students who were in the bar that day said Rieke also purchased drinks for them.

The legal drinking age in Kansas is 21.

Scott said he drank beers and shots while at The Wheel. That night, while driving from Lawrence to his Johnson County residence, he lost control of his car on Kansas Highway 10, crossed the median and struck a westbound car.

The driver, Felicia Bland, 39, Lawrence, was killed.

In August 2001, Scott was sentenced in Johnson County District Court to five years' probation after pleading no contest to charges of involuntary manslaughter.

During Wednesday's testimony, KU student Brian Stockton, who was 18 at the time of the incident, said Rieke had bought him and others a beer that day at The Wheel.

Stockton, now 21, was a friend of Scott's brother, Mike Scott. Both lived in the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house, 1540 La.

"We all walked in (The Wheel), and Mr. Rieke bought us all a beer," Stockton said under questioning by Assistant Dist. Atty. Shelley Diehl. "We got it off the bar."

Barrett Bottemuller, then 18, another fraternity member at the time, testified he saw Rieke bring beers to a table where Sean Scott and others were sitting at The Wheel. Bottemuller said he did not drink anything while in the bar.

Also testifying Wednesday was Mike Scott, who was then 18. He told jurors his brother, Sean Scott, drove from Johnson County to Lawrence to visit him at the fraternity house. They later met Rieke and other relatives at The Wheel.

Rieke and family members were in town that Saturday for the KU football home-opener played that night, Mike Scott said.

Mike Scott said he didn't remember seeing much of Rieke at The Wheel. Scott said he had been standing with friends elsewhere in the bar.

Under cross examination by Rieke's attorney Mike Riling, some of the witnesses admitted The Wheel was crowded and confused during the hours before the football game. Riling said that raised questions about whether it was possible to know who was buying the drinks.

Riling also noted that many of the KU students testifying against Rieke had been drinking before going to The Wheel.

The trial was to continue this morning. If convicted, Rieke could face a maximum sentence of 12 months in jail on each count.

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