Archive for Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tonganoxie mayor says he did not attempt suicide

Mike Vestal, the mayor of Tonganoxie, denied Tuesday that he attempted to commit suicide earlier in the week. Vestal says he changed medications and had a bad reaction to the new drug.

March 23, 2010

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Tonganoxie Mayor Mike Vestal and his family said Tuesday that it was a reaction to new medication — not a suicide attempt — that sent him to the hospital on Sunday.

During a telephone interview from Lawrence Memorial Hospital, the mayor said he’s had problems getting to sleep and his previous sleep medication was not working. So he tried a new one.

“I guess it was some bad stuff,” Vestal said. “It was new. I was only taking it one day. I had a very bad reaction. I don’t remember Sunday.”

Vestal, who works as a Tonganoxie police department dispatcher, was in critical condition on Monday, but his condition has improved and he hopes to be home later this week.

Tonganoxie police had been investigating the incident as a pain medication overdose — and had considered it a possible suicide attempt.

But Katie Underwood, Vestal’s daughter, said her father had not tried to kill himself.

Chief Kenny Carpenter did say it’s possible some people might have jumped to conclusions about an overdose — “us being part of that, maybe before we should have.”

Comments

angelmom 5 years, 5 months ago

Who is the proof reader. They didn't ever catch the TYPO in the headline.

cntrygrl 5 years, 5 months ago

I would be SOOOO mad if I were him!!! I hope that he sues...

Stuart Evans 5 years, 5 months ago

I thought the LJWorld didn't print rumors...

Stuart Evans 5 years, 5 months ago

probably picked up by the AP and we'll see it on DIGG within the week.

beatrice 5 years, 5 months ago

Awesome! Glad he is feeling better and that the situation isn't as dire as first indicated!

free2besweet 5 years, 5 months ago

What a debacle! Shame on everyone who jumped to conclusions on this matter. I tried to warn you all day yesterday about responsibility in journalism but LJW stood by it's so called 'facts'. Perhaps maybe more than one source should be used before making such a horrendous assumption about a public official.

Steve Jacob 5 years, 5 months ago

Sleep medication to me is the most addictive drugs there is. Hard to kick, and I think it is more dangerous then anyone realizes. Not saying he's addicted, just saying.

Liberty275 5 years, 5 months ago

I'm glad Mayor Vestal is OK and didn't try to snuff it. I hope the root of the problem is identified so it doesn't happen again.

Sleep medication... I once found that 3 Ambien and a nice glass of scotch will make you hallucinate and draw aboriginal figures on your face with a sharpie. Then my wife took away my Ambien.

Stick with an antihistamine instead.

Cynthia Schott 5 years, 5 months ago

Again, the media attention has to be the worst part of the ordeal.

7texdude 5 years, 5 months ago

Why should the LJW print an apology? The local police said it looked like a suicide attempt.. That was their source and they reported it. Blame the TPD, not the paper. It is the police who should aplogize, not the paper.

imastinker 5 years, 5 months ago

The police said they investigate all overdoses as possible suicides - LJWORLD said the mayor attempted suicide. Big difference.

tongieres 5 years, 5 months ago

LJW owes this man, his family, and the entire public an apology! This was there mistake and it was irresponsible journalism. I hope the Vestal family sues! Thank God Mayor Vestal is ok and shame on all who supported JK yesterday.

Mr. Kealing, Do you have anything to say for yourself or have you crawled into a hole from pure embarrassment...

Jonathan Kealing 5 years, 5 months ago

There was no mistake nor irresponsible journalism. We reported what the police reported then and we reported what the police and the mayor told us now. All we can do is report the information that we're given by competent authorities. It would be one thing if we just made the story up, but that's not the case at all. As the police chief said:

Chief Kenny Carpenter did say it’s possible some people might have jumped to conclusions about an overdose — “us being part of that, maybe before we should have.”

We are at the mercy of the police department.

tongieres 5 years, 5 months ago

jkealing (Jonathan Kealing) says…

I'm disabling further commenting on this article. It's now nearly 24 hours old. The story is in a relatively stable position and there seems to be little else that should be said as this man goes through what I think no one would disagree is a difficult time. If you have further questions or concerns, please free free to e-mail me.

http://www2.ljworld.com/staff/jonatha...

I think the point of this was not because as JK says, "there seems to be little else that should be said", but because the truth came out and LJW knows how bad they screwed up. For those uninformed this comment is from this morning on the article claiming Mr. Vestal attempted suicide. Also, I find it interesting that JK himself said that there was undue speculation and that they had the facts from a competent source....doesn't seem so. Where is the retraction and the apology JK and LJW.

Jonathan Kealing 5 years, 5 months ago

Tongieres--

I disabled comments on that article 12 hours ago, 8 hours before we talked to Mr. Vestal and received new information. So, there's no conspiracy nor any embarrassment. We reported the best information that was available and will continue to do so.

Jonathan Kealing Online editor

tongieres 5 years, 5 months ago

JK, Funny, I happen to know for a fact that Chief Carpenter made you change your article yesterday and gave you the quote that all overdoses are investigated as a possible suicide AFTER you had already posted that it was in fact an attempted suicide, you had all the facts and there was no undue speculation.

Jonathan Kealing 5 years, 5 months ago

tongieres--

I don't understand what you're trying to say. We did update it after the chief asked to alter the information his department had provided to us earlier.

Jonathan Kealing Online editor

free2besweet 5 years, 5 months ago

When asked to shut down the comments to yesterday's report, Johnathan Kealing (Online Editor) replied that he was not monitoring comments for a couple of reasons. The first being this:

"The facts of this story aren't in question. We know what happened. There's no undue speculation that could go on".

JK, I would highly recommend that you re-review your 'competent' sources. You would not reveal who your original source was but it was not Lt. Adcox. As soon as I alerted Chief Carpenter to what had been printed he called you and you then changed the story.

It appears both the police and the news may be responsible for some mismanagement of information. If you are going to site sources, it is your responsibility to make sure they are credible. To take up for that source by stating that the facts are not in question and that no undue speculation could go on was untrue. If you can't or won't retract the story, you could at least retract that as it was obviously false.

Thank you.

Jonathan Kealing 5 years, 5 months ago

free2besweet--

I didn't say I was not monitoring comments. That's 100% untrue. I did say I wasn't pre-approving or moderating comments, which was the case.

Further, the only reason I'm not saying specifically who the source was is because I don't know who the source was as I wasn't the reporter, or the story's editor. I believe we cited either a police officer or a police report, but I'm not certain.. Either of those would typically be a credible source. That said, I certainly wish we wouldn't have been given contradictory information in our different interactions with police. I certainly would rather the same story — the right story — be told to us all the time.

Unfortunately, in news, that's not how it works. You report the best information that you can get, and strive to be 100% accurate 100% of the time. Unfortunately, while that's our goal, it cannot always be attained. That's why we aggressively update or correct stories as we need to.

Jonathan Kealing Online editor

imastinker 5 years, 5 months ago

You guys know that Jonathon Kealing didn't write either article - right?

budwhysir 5 years, 5 months ago

Wow... this much time being taken on yesterdays news?/??? Wouldnt it be safe to say the news from yesterday has been replaced by BETTER news today in the fact that this gentleman is doing better and that there was not attempt???? Does it matter who was wrong and who was right??? As I have said before, this is the problem with the drama fed lifestyle, those engulfed by it tend to be unhappy by true drama and false drama, they spend an entire week pointing fingers and trying to blame others about things that are said.

Give it up people, move on, the paper printed information received, then printed more information received that contradicted the first information.... will this make the world stop spinning??? will this make your heart stop beating? NO give it up move on why not complain about the new and current drama of the day? After all, it will change in the morning and you will have a whole new bag of complaints to share with the world

Keep on printing LJW these people will keep reading so they can complain

free2besweet 5 years, 5 months ago

JK

My apologies for using the words, 'not moderating' in place of "not preapproving'. The focus of my reply was relating to your statement that:

"The facts of this story aren't in question. We know what happened. There's no undue speculation that could go on".

If you weren't even aware of who the source was because you weren't the reporter or editor, how could you have stated with such conviction that the facts were not in question and no undue speculation could go on? Furthermore, you replied to me yesterday that: "... the story we've presented online has been correct, based on the information competent officials were giving us at the time". Now you say you don't even know who those "competent officials" are? Is that not speculation?

I'm sure there was a measure of chaos around the police department at that time and much speculation was going on as they surveyed the situation. I'm not sure any source could be 100% reliable at that point. Common sense would prevail that nobody at that stage could state with certainty that this was a suicide attempt.

Perhaps the report was a bit premature and I don't believe it would have been considered 'holding back to protect a public official' to wait until more facts had been been ascertained and sources checked and double-checked before reporting. Going directly to the Chief of Police for the information in the first place would have been more responsible than going by something stated by a so called, and unnamed, 'competent source'.

At the very least, due caution could have been used by stating attempted suicide was a possibility rather than stating as fact that it was an attempted suicide. Just some simple re-wording could have saved a lot of confusion.

I'm just relieved to know that Mr. Vestal is going to be okay. I continue to keep him and his family in my prayers.

meggers 5 years, 5 months ago

For the love of God, people, the headline was "Dewey Defeats Truman"!

And that was long before the internet and our society's insatiable appetite for up-to-date, "I want it now" journalism.

It sounds like the Tonganoxie police screwed up- not at all surprising for a small force that doesn't employ a media liaison.

Unless you truly believe that the LJW just made stuff up and didn't accurately report what was told to them by the police in Tonganoxie, your anger is misdirected.

Glad Mr. Vestal is ok.

BMI 5 years, 5 months ago

You suppose Kim Murphree shook her head at this one? Or maybe she did a recheck on her Retirement Countdown Calendar. ;)

happy_go_lucky 5 years, 5 months ago

Yeah I remember JK saying "The facts of this story aren't in question. We know what happened. There's no undue speculation that could go on" I suppose this is the proverbial foot-in-mouth huh JK?

LJW should appologize to the Mr. Vestal. JK maybe next time you come acting pompous about your journalistic creds, you should consider this event, and pull the foot out before you even shove it in.

happy_go_lucky 5 years, 5 months ago

to Mr. Vestal*

What I get for changing "The mayor" to Mr. Vestal.

free2besweet 5 years, 5 months ago

Budwhyser,

Quote: "give it up move on why not complain about the new and current drama of the day? After all, it will change in the morning and you will have a whole new bag of complaints to share with the world. Keep on printing LJW these people will keep reading so they can complain."

Reply: Has it not occurred to you that some of the people "complaining" may have had their lives or the lives of people they love affected by the inaccuracy of this report? Open your eyes and see what is being said here and realize you may be belittling the opinions of those whose loved one was the subject of this story. To them I'm sure this is not merely the drama of the day!

Meggers,

Quote: "Unless you truly believe that the LJW just made stuff up and didn't accurately report what was told to them by the police in Tonganoxie, your anger is misdirected."

Reply: Some do not believe that the LJW initially gave an accurate accounting of what was told to them by the Tonganoxie Police Department, so even if they are angry, which I'm not sure is the case, it is not misdirected.

Goodnight

BruceWayne 5 years, 5 months ago

anyone remember the "12 miners found alive" headline in the KC star a few years ago?

Shardwurm 5 years, 5 months ago

As an aside I'm glad JK actually interacts with the posters. That's pretty uncommon.

Jim Williamson 5 years, 5 months ago

So what have we learned here?

Never, ever trust a police chief named "Kenny."

OldEnuf2BYurDad 5 years, 5 months ago

Kealing doesn't need to defend himself just because some of you don't understand the rules of journalistic ethics.

The LJW published that the Keystone Cops' report indicated suicide. There's nothing wrong there.

todayiwill 5 years, 5 months ago

I think that the LJW should issue a public apology. This is why I don't read the LJW paper. Their news is misleading and never completely true. I wouldn't be surprised if something happens....law suit or something. Maybe they should get their information from sources that can be trusted. Jumping to conclusions and assuming that Mr. Vestal attempted suicide is misleading and untrue. Get all the facts before you publish a story. I understand that you got this information from the TPD, but when are they always true? They like to jump to conclusions too and think the worse of the situation. Maybe everyone should get the facts straight before publishing a story.

YOU GO free2besweet!! Set them in their place. They need to be!!! You should set the TPD in their place too!!!

ralphralph 5 years, 5 months ago

The police, in this instance, acted stupidly. If this had been, or was, a suicide attempt, it's not really anyone's business.

meggers 5 years, 5 months ago

"I stand corrected. Thanks, meggers."

Porch,

No problem. Someone else posted the incorrect headline before you did.

Your greater faux pas is uttering the phrase "I stand corrected". NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Now, the pussy cat on the other thread has all of the cut and paste ammo that he needs to claim you admitted you were wrong. Don't you see, context does not matter on the interwebs! Do you have any idea what you have done??????

I know it's a bit early, but could you pour me a teensy bit of that Oatmeal Stout? All of this stress is making me thirsty. Never surrender, I tell you!!!!!!!

Kontum1972 5 years, 5 months ago

that town gives me the creeps......i remember stopping in town, I went in to a local eat place and as i was waiting to be seated i was looking at the bulletin board and there were pics of 6 people on horseback wearing white sheets with pointy hats and crosses and there were some people hanging from trees....so i kind of scanned the room and all the people in the joint were staring at me...i slowly made an exit out of the establishment.....i wasnt that hungry..

I am still creeped out when i drive through it...i hope my vehicle doesnt break down in tongie.

Sigmund 5 years, 5 months ago

jkealing (Jonathan Kealing) says… "tongieres-- I don't understand what you're trying to say. We did update it after the chief asked to alter the information his department had provided to us earlier."

Doesn't pass the laugh or the smell test, especially after the article 2 years ago that first claimed "Tonganioxie Mayor Admits Sending Pornographic Material" was suddenly changed to "Mayor admits risque e-mail" http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2007/sep/08/tonganoxie_mayor_admits_sending_pornographic_email/#c414088

And now you have disabled further comments on a thread that has the original misinformation on "a suicide attempt" by this same man? What a load of crap and a bunch of hypocrites The World Company, LJWorld Online, you and the Simons have become in this community.

Allow me once again to renew my request that you "disappeared" my user account.

pagano 5 years, 5 months ago

It's very apparent that LJW has something against Mr Vestal. There is so much more to this story.

jbiegs 5 years, 5 months ago

newsflash.....KU fans are ignorant, ljworld is a joke, and Lawrence crime is always blamed on Topeka! LOL

BadAssterson 5 years, 5 months ago

free2besweet- couple things, 1. If the mayor did not want his life to be public, he should not have become a public official. If the same thing would have happened to some cashier it probably would not have made the news. 2. If you know so much about journalism perhaps you should start your own newspaper and report on stories only after they are a year old so you can make sure the facts known to you at the time a story is first reported do not change.

todayiwiill- If you don't read the LJW how do you know anything about what has been published this week?

Keep doing your job LJW and JK. Most people understand that things change.

Buggie 5 years, 5 months ago

This should have been reported as him going to the hospital with illness. Nothing more until FACTS were brought to the surface. You just cant go around and state someone has attempted suicide and someone prominent in the community at that and then not look foolish in return. Not only that, ljworlds "reporting" has this man coming home to suicide rumors and talk that should have never been surfaced without the PROPER background information. Before worrying about who gets the story first maybe you should be more concerned on who gets it correct.

Buggie 5 years, 5 months ago

This should have been reported as him going to the hospital with illness. Nothing more until FACTS were brought to the surface. You just cant go around and state someone has attempted suicide and someone prominent in the community at that and then not look foolish in return. Not only that, ljworlds "reporting" has this man coming home to suicide rumors and talk that should have never been surfaced without the PROPER background information. Before worrying about who gets the story first maybe you should be more concerned on who gets it correct.

Buggie 5 years, 5 months ago

This should have been reported as him going to the hospital with illness. Nothing more until FACTS were brought to the surface. You just cant go around and state someone has attempted suicide and someone prominent in the community at that and then not look foolish in return. Not only that, ljworlds "reporting" has this man coming home to suicide rumors and talk that should have never been surfaced without the PROPER background information. Before worrying about who gets the story first maybe you should be more concerned on who gets it correct.

pace 5 years, 5 months ago

The cops knew what they were doing when they dumped their version of the story to the press. The knew a plant was as good a way of getting a guy they didn't like. The police don't issue their "special" statements on guys they like. The press shoud of been careful in their headline and closed the comment section till they had gotten a second source.

meggers 5 years, 5 months ago

Again, folks, it appears that the Tonganoxie Police Department screwed up. THEY told the media that it was a suicide attempt.

I would think that most journalists would consider a statement from the police handling the case a reliable source.

I'm sure I'll be pummeled for this statement, but I'm surprised no one else has mentioned that the article states that someone else in the house called 911 for help. Could it be that something they said may have indicated that they thought it was a suicide attempt?

I knew a girl who attempted suicide as a teenager and she made up a story about the scars on her wrist, because she didn't want people to know what she had done. That probably isn't the case with Mr. Vestal, but given the certainty with which the police apparently made their statement, it's within the realm of possibility.

I know, shame on me for speculating about such things. I just find it odd that the initial report differs so much from what Mr. Vestal says happened. Then again, maybe someone at the TPD has it in for Mr. Vestal and thought he'd start a viscious rumor. Either way, it's silly to blame the LJW for considering the police department a reliable source.

meggers 5 years, 5 months ago

Thanks, porch. A perfect pour, indeed.

Nectar of the Gods, I tell you. ;)

autie,

Perhaps Marion provided the free samples, along with some Grey Goose to chug 'em down.

Deja Coffin 5 years, 5 months ago

Props to J Kealing for responding to the comments directed towards him. At least we have an online editor that is paying attention to the concerns of the people posting on here. Hope Mayor Vestal makes a quick recovery and gets his medication figured out.

backtogeorgia 5 years, 5 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

free2besweet 5 years, 5 months ago

Throughout all of the changing stories and headlines, Lt. Adcox was never quoted as saying anything about suicide. That part of the headline and all parts related to it in the story stood alone without any source documentation.

JK was even asked specifically by two different peope in the comments if he was claiming that Lt. Adcox stated that Mr. Vestal had attempted suicide and JK gave no response other than to state they received their information from a competent source.

Thanks to JK for relating to those who commented. There were a lot of questions and your attempts at answering those questions are apprecitated.

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