Kansas lobbyist charged with aggravated battery for crash

Updated: May. 15, 2021 at 2:24 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Lobbyist James E. “Jim” Gardner had a blood-alcohol level more than three times the legal limit at the time of a February crash that injured his passenger, according to a criminal complaint.

The complaint, filed May 6, charges Gardner with aggravated battery committed while driving under the influence, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

It also charges Gardner, 48, with a felony count of interference with a law enforcement officer and a misdemeanor count of transporting liquor in an open container.

The complaint says he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.29% at the time of the Feb. 13 crash. Kansas law considers a motorist intoxicated when his or her blood-alcohol level is 0.08%.

Gardner is a board member for Shawnee County’s Mission Township, which he serves as treasurer. He was on the Topeka City Council from 1997 to 2001.

Shawnee County Sheriff Brian C. Hill said his office responded about 5:20 p.m. Feb. 13 to the scene of an injury crash where a pickup truck Gardner had been driving left the road and went into a ditch.

The complaint identifies the victim in the case as Cheryl L. Banks, a passenger in Gardner’s vehicle.

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