Lawrence woman sentenced to probation for driving car into group of protesters during 2020 demonstrations

photo by: Nick Gerik/Journal-World File Photo

In this file photo from May 31, 2020, demonstrators marching against police brutality scramble as an SUV, obscured in center background, quickly accelerates through the crowd just south of the intersection at 11th and Massachusetts streets.

A Lawrence woman accused of driving a vehicle into a group of protesters in 2020 was convicted of a misdemeanor through a plea deal this week and sentenced to probation.

The conviction and sentence brought a second driver-related incident during local demonstrations against police brutality to a close.

Lynda C. Kitsmiller, also known as Lynda Muncy in court records, pleaded no contest to a count of battery, a class B misdemeanor, in Douglas County District Court as part of the agreement. With her plea, the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office dismissed a charge of reckless driving, according to a copy of the agreement provided to the Journal-World.

Through the agreement, Kitsmiller was sentenced to six months of probation with an underlying sentence of 30 days in jail.

As the Journal-World previously reported, on May 31, 2020, Kitsmiller allegedly accelerated a green SUV into protesters occupying the intersection of 11th and Massachusetts streets during a solidarity march against police brutality.

One person was reportedly injured near 11th and Massachusetts streets when the car quickly accelerated through a group of marchers that was attempting to redirect the vehicle. The person did not appear to suffer significant injuries and was able to leave without assistance, according to a registered nurse at the scene who helped treat the person’s injuries. Lawrence police said at the time that one person suffered minor injuries in the incident but declined help from medics and did not want to speak with law enforcement at the scene.

According to the charging document in the case, Kitsmiller was accused of unlawfully driving the vehicle with “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property” and causing bodily harm to another person.

photo by: Mackenzie Clark/Journal-World File Photo

In this file photo from June 29, 2020, a driver in a silver SUV drives into a crowd of protesters on Massachusetts Street.

In a similar but separate incident, another woman, Mary Ellen Rose, was convicted of one count of reckless driving. She was accused of driving a silver SUV through protesters’ makeshift barricades and into a crowd of people on Massachusetts Street near South Park on June 29, 2020.

Rose, of Baldwin City, pleaded no contest to the charge in May. She was fined $100 and had her driver’s license restricted for 90 days, according to court records.

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