Crime & Courts

Two drivers arrested on suspicion of DUI after crashing into Wichita police cruisers

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Two men suspected of drunk driving have been arrested after crashing into Wichita police patrol cruisers over the weekend.

James Dale Johnson and Lesster O. Raudales-Varela were arrested after separate incidents on Saturday, Officer Charley Davidson said Monday. The men both have two prior DUI convictions, according to police records.

The first crash happened at around 2:15 a.m. in west Wichita when an officer was responding to a call of a wrong-way driver at Kellogg and Maize. A white Ford F-350 driven by Johnson was traveling the wrong way on Kellogg, Davidson said, and collided head-on with the patrol vehicle.

The officer tried to avoid the wreck, police said. The pickup continued east in the westbound lanes of the divided highway before crashing into the median at Kellogg and Meridian. The officer was treated at a hospital for minor injuries and released, and Johnson was not hurt.

The second wreck happened at around 10:50 p.m. in south Wichita while police were working an unrelated accident on Hydraulic under the I-135 overpass. An officer was sitting in his patrol vehicle blocking the southbound lanes of traffic when a white BMW 3 Series driven by Raudales-Varela crashed into the side of the police cruiser, Davidson said.

The car also hit a gray Ford Taurus occupied by a 19-year-old woman. After police stopped the car, officer found that Raudales-Varela was under the influence of alcohol, police said. No serious injuries were reported.

Sedgwick County Jail booking reports show Johnson, 58, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, DUI after second conviction, driving the wrong direction on a one-way road, driving on an expired driver’s license and failure to stop at an injury accident. Raudales-Varela, 37, was arrested on suspicion of DUI after second conviction, reckless driving and transporting an open container.

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