WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW)- A man is now dead after his semi lost control on US I-70 last night.
Officials say the accident happened at 11:30 p.m. in Northwest Kansas, two miles east of Grinnell.
67-year-old Donald E. Jones was driving eastbound on I-70 when he lost control of his semi tractor. The vehicle entered the median and rolled onto it’s left side, pinning the driver.
Jones was pronounced dead at the scene.
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – A 60-year-old Topeka man has been sentenced to more than 13 years in prison in the death of his former wife.
Colin Edward Pritchard was convicted in June of intentional second-degree murder in the 2015 shooting death of his former wife, 51-year-old Cindy Pritchard.
The Topeka Capital-Journal reports he was sentenced Friday after a two-hour hearing that included comments from some of Cindy Pritchard’s seven children, as well as her mother, father and other relatives.
Pritchard’s defense attorneys sought to have his sentence reduced to three years and five months, contending he had acted in self-defense after his former wife pulled a pistol from a hiding place in a sofa.
The judge sentenced him to 13 years and nine months.
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – More lawsuits have been filed against a former physician assistant accused of sexual battery and other crimes at a Veterans Affairs hospital in Leavenworth.
At least three lawsuits were filed earlier this year in U.S. District Court in Kansas accusing Mark Wisner of conducting unnecessary and improper genital examinations at the Leavenworth VA Medical Center.
Wisner surrendered his medical license last year after at least seven patients accused him of abuse. He agreed in a consent order last year that he violated the law by having inappropriate sexual contact with patients and over-prescribing medication.
The Topeka Capital-Journal reports court records show Wisner now faces a dozen lawsuits, with the latest filed last week. The new lawsuits also accuse Wisner of improper genital examinations.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Centuries of struggles and strife, decades of planning and pain, and years of hoping for a place that African-American history can call home will culminate as President Barack Obama officially opens the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Obama tweeted from his presidential Twitter account Saturday morning that he was “Proud to help open @NMAAHC with so many heroes. African American history is a central part of our glorious American history.”
Before formally opening the museum, Obama will ring the Freedom Bell, acquired in 1886 by the historic First Baptist Church in Williamsburg, Virginia, believed to be among the first Baptist churches organized entirely by African-Americans for African-Americans. It will be returned to the church for its 240th anniversary later this year.
A shining bronze beacon on the National Mall, only steps away from a monument dedicated to a slaveholder president, the new Smithsonian chronicles the complex relationship between the United States and a people it once enslaved, and tell the story of those who worked to make the necessary changes to bring the country to where it is today.
Thousands gathered on the National Mall on Saturday morning to watch Obama, the nation’s first black president, cut the ribbon to open the museum. People are flying in from around the country to be some of the first people inside, if they were lucky enough to get the much-coveted opening day tickets.
“It’s like walking across the desert and finally getting to a fountain of water to quench your thirst. It’s absolutely breathtaking for me,” said Verna Eggleston, 61, of New York City, who will tour the museum later Saturday.
Ground was broken for the new museum in 2012 on a five-acre tract near the Washington Monument after a decades-long push for an African-American museum on the National Mall. Congressman John Lewis of Georgia, a longtime civil rights icon, worked with then-Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas to usher legislation through Congress, and President George W. Bush signed into law the bill that allowed the museum to move forward.
The new museum “symbolizes all of the contributions, the culture and the crisis of black America,” said Rev. Howard-John Wesley, pastor of Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia, whose members donated $1 million to the museum. “It’s a beautiful thing, especially in this day and time when we’re fighting to remind ourselves how important black lives are.”
Construction was completed earlier this year on the 400,000-square-foot museum designed by British-Ghanaian architect David Adjaye. The museum strikes a unique shape on the Mall with its three-tiered bronze exterior panels inspired by an African wooden column. The patterned bronze colored tiles are inspired by 19th century ironwork created by slaves in the South, and allow sunlight into the museum through patterned openings.
Inside, museum officials say they have nearly 3,000 items occupying 85,000 square feet of exhibition space including exhibits like a Tuskegee Airmen training plane and the casket of Emmitt Till, a murdered African-American boy whose death helped rally the civil rights movement.
“It’s been 100 years in the making. So many people have dreamed about this, fought for this and wanted this to happen,” said U.S. Circuit Judge Robert L. Wilkins, who wrote the book “Long Road to Hard Truth” about the struggle to get the museum open. “It’s going to be a testament to their work and a testament to so many of our ancestors that this museum will open on the Mall.”
Millions of donors, both known and unknown, helped fund the museum. But some of the biggest donors’ names adorn the walls inside, including the Oprah Winfrey Theater; the Michael Jordan Hall: Game Changers; and the newest named addition, Robert F. Smith Explore Your Family History Center. It is named after the CEO of investment firm Vista Equity Partners after a $20 million gift announced Monday.
“I am overwhelmed. I’m humbled,” said Deborah Elam, president of the GE Foundation and chief diversity officer of General Electric, as she waited for the museum’s opening. GE donated $5 million toward the construction of the museum. “I’m so proud our company contributed early because we believed in this project.”
People flew into the nation’s capital from around the country to attend the opening of the museum, with security lines lasting for more than an hour for some people trying to the dedication ceremony.
“Hopefully this grand occasion allows the rest of the nation to come out and see a building that’s not just for African-Americans, it’s for all of America,” said Master Sgt. Donald Sparks of Houston, who just finished a yearlong deployment in Iraq. “I’m just elated and can’t express how much joy and gratitude I have to be here today and witness history.”
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Protesters who have filled the streets to push for the release of video of a fatal police shooting could see their task get much harder if Charlotte authorities do not share the footage within a week.
A North Carolina law that takes effect Oct. 1 will declare that the video is not a public record and that only a judge can release it, potentially making the issue far more complicated than if police simply shared the footage on their own.
The law passed by the state’s GOP-controlled Legislature runs counter to a nationwide trend in which some cities are trying to show greater transparency by releasing videos soon after a shooting.
Calls for the release of the video have become the crux of the protests in the aftermath of Keith Lamont Scott’s death. Police have said Scott, who was shot Tuesday, disregarded repeated warnings to drop a gun. Neighbors have said he was holding only a book.
Police Chief Kerr Putney told reporters Friday that at least one body camera and one dashboard camera recorded footage of the shooting. He said “it’s a matter of when” the video will be released. But the chief also cautioned that it won’t happen until the State Bureau of Investigation reviews the evidence.
If that process takes more than a week, the new law is likely to create another set of obstacles. The law says footage from police body or dashboard cameras may only be made public by a judge weighing the requests for its release.
Starting next month, “the agency cannot release it … It’s the court that has to make that decision,” said Jeff Welty, a criminal law expert at the University of North Carolina. Law enforcement will still be able to show footage to victims’ families without releasing it publicly.
Gov. Pat McCrory, who signed the law over the summer, said the debate over the recordings shows the need for the law, which he described as fair and reasonable.
“I assume on October 1, when the new law is enacted, someone will be requesting that tape, and it will most likely go to a third-party arbitrator, which would be the judge,” he told reporters.
Questions about how the shooting unfolded lingered even after Scott’s wife released cellphone footage Friday that shows what led up to the shooting and its aftermath. Gunshots can be heard but not seen in her video.
Republican state Rep. John Faircloth, a primary sponsor of the new law, believes there’s a strong legal argument that any pending requests for video that are not resolved by Oct. 1 would be handled using the procedures established in the law.
Faircloth, previously police chief in the city of High Point for 16 years, said the upcoming rules provide uniformity statewide on how footage will be handled. He disagreed with the premise that the new rules will make it harder overall for the public to see police videos.
Charlotte investigators have said footage from the shooting is currently exempt from public records requests because it is part of an ongoing investigation.
Susanna Birdsong, a legal policy expert for the American Civil Liberties Union, said officials could argue that requests made this week cannot be considered until that investigative process is complete and thus would be subject to the new law.
“They could very well continue to do that, and they could say: ‘This new law went into effect October 1, and we are not allowed to release footage going forward. We need a court order to release it,'” she said in a phone interview.
Birdsong, whose group opposed the law, questioned the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s classification of footage as part of the investigative record.
“To lump all body cam footage as part of criminal investigations doesn’t make a lot of sense and doesn’t serve the purpose that body cameras are supposed to serve, which is accountability,” she said.
The police chief said Friday that the investigation is now in the hands of state authorities who are still getting up to speed.
“A thorough investigation relies on multiple factors, and I can tell you one piece of evidence will never, ever make a good case. I know the expectation is that video footage can be the panacea, and I can tell you that is not quite the case,” he said.
Still, Putney has previously said that the video, when considered with the rest of the evidence, supports the police account. A gun was found next to the dead man, and there was no book, he said.
Justin Bamberg, an attorney for Scott’s family, watched the video with the slain man’s relatives and said it’s impossible to tell what Scott may have been holding in his hands. The family has urged release of the police video.
Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper, who is challenging McCrory for governor in November, has criticized the law, saying it appears to make the public release of video more difficult. He called for the Charlotte video to be made public, as did Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
“We must continue in the pursuit of the truth while also continuing the important work of bringing our communities and law enforcement together to build trust and safety for all,” Cooper said. “One step toward meeting both goals is for the videos in this case to be released to the public.”
BURLINGTON, Wash. (AP) — Police searched Saturday for a gunman who authorities said fatally shot five people in a mall north of Seattle before fleeing toward an interstate highway on foot.
People fled, customers hid in dressing rooms and employees locked the doors of nearby stores after gunshots rang out just after 7 p.m. Friday at the Cascade Mall. A helicopter, search teams and K-9 units scoured the area for a rifle-carrying man.
“We are still actively looking for the shooter,” Washington State Patrol spokesman Sgt. Mark Francis said at a Friday night news conference. “Stay indoors, stay secure.”
Authorities said four females, whose ages were not given, died after the gunman opened fire in the makeup department of a Macy’s store. An adult male who was wounded in the shooting died early Saturday, officials said. His location in the mall was unclear.
Police said they were looking for a man wearing black and armed with a “hunting-type” rifle and last seen walking toward Interstate 5. The description, including that he appeared to be Hispanic, was based on statements from witnesses, said Given Kutz, a spokesman for the Skagit County Emergency Operations Center.
Authorities said the motive was unknown for the shooting about 60 miles (97 kilometers) north of Seattle.
The FBI was assisting local authorities as dozens of police officers searched for the suspect. The FBI’s Seattle office said on Twitter that it “has no information to suggest additional attacks planned” in Washington state but did not elaborate.
Though the four female victims were in the makeup area, it is unclear where the male victim was when he was shot.
Tari Caswell told the Skagit Valley Herald that she was in the Macy’s women’s dressing room when she heard “what sounded like four balloons popping.”
“Then I heard seven or eight more, and I just stayed quiet in the dressing room because it just didn’t feel right. And it got very quiet. And then I heard a lady yelling for help, and a man came and got me and another lady, and we ran out of the store,” Caswell told the newspaper.
Stephanie Bose, an assistant general manager at Johnny Carino’s Italian restaurant near the Macy’s store at the mall, said she immediately locked the doors to the restaurant after hearing about the shooting from an employee’s boyfriend.
“He was trying to go to the mall and people were screaming,” she told The Associated Press. “It was frantic.”
She said he could see police at the doors with assault rifles and said they were no longer guarding the doors as of 9:30 p.m.
Francis said at about 8:30 p.m. that the mall had been evacuated and emergency medical personnel were cleared to enter. Francis said authorities were still doing a “final clear” of the 434,000-square-foot (40,000-square-meter) mall late Friday night. He said 11 search teams and two K9 units were involved.
The parking lot was closed and emergency management officials told people they would be able to retrieve vehicles Saturday, though the mall said it would be closed for the day.
Gov. Jay Inslee said tragedy had struck the state.
“We urge residents to heed all safety and detour warnings. Stay close to your friends and loved ones as we await more information and, hopefully, news of the suspect’s capture,” Inslee said in a statement.
The Cascade Mall is an enclosed shopping mall that opened in 1990, according to the mall’s website. It features J.C. Penney, TJ Maxx, and Macy’s stores, among other stores, restaurants and a movie theater.
On Sept. 17 a man stabbed 10 people at a Minnesota mall before being shot and killed by an off-duty police officer. Authorities say Dahir Ahmed Adan, 20, stabbed the people at the Crossroads Center in St. Cloud, Minnesota.