Archive for Thursday, November 20, 2003

Truck’s driver convicted in Basehor court

November 20, 2003

Authorities said the driver of a truck involved in a wreck that claimed the life of a Basehor man is appealing a drunk-driving conviction he received in Basehor Municipal Court.

Brett Bidnick, 34, whose registered address is listed as Kansas City, Mo., is listed as the driver of a 4x4 truck that collided Oct. 8 with a car driven by Kevin Swope of Basehor, said Maj. Dave Zoellner of the Leavenworth County Sheriff's Department.

Swope, 22, died as result of injuries sustained in the crash.

Bidnick allegedly fled the accident scene; he is scheduled to appear in Leavenworth County District Court Wednesday, Nov. 26 for four citations. The citations are driving with a suspended license, failure to report an injury accident, failure to report an accident by quickest means and failure to render assistance to an injured person.

According to Basehor police and municipal court records, Bidnick also was charged after an accident in Basehor in February.

Bidnick was charged in Basehor Municipal Court with driving under the influence, driving with a suspended license, refusing a preliminary breath test and obstruction of the legal process.

Basehor police officer Sgt. Martin Cigich said Bidnick attempted to switch seats with a passenger following the accident, which occurred at U.S. Highway 24/40 and 155th Street. After questioning, police determined Bidnick was the driver, Cigich said.

Basehor prosecutor Mike Kelly said Bidnick has been tried in Basehor Municipal Court once for the charges but an appeal is pending.

A judge found him guilty on charges of driving under the influence and driving with a suspended license; he was found not guilty of refusing a breath test and obstruction of justice.

The guilty verdicts, however, are not final.

Bidnick has appealed the judge's decision to the county's district court. Under municipal court policy, the case is listed "like nothing ever happened," until the appeal is decided, Kelly said.

"It's a different set of circumstances in municipal court than district court," Kelly said.

Bidnick's attorney, Ed Gillette, has filed a motion to suppress statements his client made to police following the February accident, Kelly said.

A county district court judge will decide the matter.

Authorities said Swope was driving west Oct. 8 on Kansas Highway 32 when he attempted to turn left onto 166th Street. An oncoming eastbound truck alleged driven by Bidnick struck Swope's car.

Bidnick fled the scene on foot; a canvas of the area by police did not locate the driver. In the weeks following the accident, police attempted to locate Bidnick for an interview into circumstances surrounding the accident.

Citations were ordered earlier this month for Bidnick to appear in Leavenworth County District Court.

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