May 29, 2014

Helping outdoor enthusiasts enjoy a safe outing is serious business for KDWPT law enforcement officers 

TOPEKA– Law enforcement officers with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) were positioned around the state over the Memorial Day holiday weekend to help thousands of outdoor enthusiasts safely enjoy the Sunflower State’s reservoirs. In addition to enforcing wildlife laws and regulations, KDWPT game wardens are responsible for enforcing boating laws and investigating boating-related accidents. The holiday weekend reporting period ran from 7:00 p.m. on Friday, May 23, 2014 to 11:59 p.m. on Memorial Day, May 26.

The holiday took a tragic turn when wardens were called to help locate and recover two drowning victims. On Saturday, Mark Selbee, 45, Leawood, drowned at Hillsdale Reservoir after going overboard while boating with two of his children. His body was recovered Sunday evening. On Sunday, a 65-year old man drowned at Milford Reservoir when he went overboard while fishing. Game wardens are working with local authorities to locate and recover the victim.    

Boating under the influence (BUI) is as serious as driving under the influence. Wardens staged BUI enforcement efforts at Keith Sebelius Reservoir and Big Hill Reservoir Saturday night that resulted in one BUI arrest, 10 citations for boating safety violations and seven tickets for illegal-length fish. An under-age drinking enforcement effort at Elk City Reservoir resulted in the arrest of six juveniles for Minor in Possession of Alcohol.

A number of people can count themselves lucky after going missing or being stranded while otherwise enjoying the outdoors. Boaters reported missing Saturday night at Cheney Reservoir were found safe on Sunday after they spent the night on the lake when they ran out of gas. Also on Saturday night, boaters reported missing on Fall River Reservoir were found stranded on the water. They made it safely ashore around 11:00 p.m. after game wardens came to their assistance. The rescued individuals included a three-month old infant. In addition, the Kansas Highway Patrol aviation unit helped wardens locate and assist stranded boaters to shore at John Redmond Reservoir on Saturday night.

In other activity, wardens responded to a trespassing complaint on the Smoky Hill River in Russell County where 18 individuals were found operating all-terrain vehicles on private property without the landowner’s permission. And on Monday, Butler County game wardens investigated two cases of illegal taking of turkeys.

A summary of the holiday activity follows:

Total boat accidents investigated 1
Total boat accident fatalities 0
Total boat accident injuries 0
Drowning fatalities 2
Search and rescue incidents 10
Stranded boat assistance incidents 17
Boating under the influence arrests 1
Boating violation citations 113
Boating violation warnings 94
Fishing violation citations 67
Fishing violation warnings 17
Drug crime related arrests 1
Other crime arrests 28