Man Leads Topeka Police On Chase Before Crashing Into Tree

A man in a stolen truck led police on a chase before crashing into a tree.

40-year-old Mark Berwert will face multiple felony charges once he is released from the hospital.

Police tried to stop him just before midnight in northeast Topeka and he sped off, eluding police for less than a mile before wrecking into a tree, and attempting to flee on foot.

The chase ended just east of Garfield Park.

Berwert will be taken to the Department of Corrections once he is released from the hospital.

Topeka Man Charged With Murder, Again

Another murder charge for a Topeka man currently in prison for a home invasion.

Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor says 40-year-old Monroe E. Lockhart III is charged with first-degree premeditated murder for the shooting death of Damon Anderson on Valentine’s Day 2000. The Topeka Police Department investigated the incident.

In September, Lockhart was charged with premeditated first-degree murder and aggravated arson in the death of 39-year-old Corey Brown.

Brown is believed to have been killed in Topeka, but was found dead in Douglas County.

Lockhart is already serving a nearly 10-year sentence for a home invasion in Topeka.

Kraft Explains Velveeta Shortage

It is possible some consumers may not be able to find some Velveeta products on store shelves over the next couple of weeks.  

There are a number of factors involved, but Jody Moore, spokeswoman for Kraft, tells WIBW News that the key driver of any short-term availability issues is increased seasonal demand.

Moore says they are flattered and somewhat surprised by all the media coverage this has gotten since they were first asked about it.

She says the Velveeta team has been working hard for the last few months to minimize impact on their retail customers and consumers and they apologize for any inconveniences this may cause. 

Wreck In Douglas Co. Claims Life Of Topeka Man

A two-vehicle accident in Douglas County left a Topeka man dead.

The Kansas Highway Patrol says just before 7 a.m. Wednesday, a 1995 Toyota four-door passenger car driven by 44-year-old Thomas Alber, was traveling eastbound on N. 1800 Road, also known as Farmers Turnpike, when it went left of center for an unknown reason. Troopers say the Toyota struck a 2010 GMC Acadia, driven by 44-year-old Traci Eddy, of Lecompton, which had entered the left-hand turning lane for westbound traffic on N. 1800.

The location of the accident was just north of the Turnpike’s interchange with K-10 highway.

Alber died at the scene, while the KHP says Eddy was not injured, but was taken to a hospital by private vehicle.

Troopers say both drivers were wearing seat belts.

Highland Park To Name Court After Coach During Ceremony Friday

236 wins. Eight league championships. Four state titles.

Ken Darting has enjoyed a nice run in his 13 years as head coach of Highland Park High School boys basketball.

The school is honoring Darting by naming their basketball court in his honor. The ceremony is Friday before their game against Junction City.

Darting says when he started coaching, he planned to win some games, but never dreamed this would happen.

“You never ever think someday somebody is going to say, ‘Hey, we’d like to name this court after you’,” Darting said. “So it’s very surprising. It’s very appreciated. And it’s the most rewarding honor that you can get because you are being recognized by the people that mean the most to you.” 

When giving advice to young coaches, he says it’s not just about X’s and O’s. 

“When you got 25 kids every year, besides your own, and a wife, there’s a lot of sacrifices being made.” “I’ve had, luckily, a wife and a family that looked at those kids as their sons, as their brothers and sisters, so it’s been a family affair, instead of me out there choosing which family I’m with.”

Darting is retiring from coaching after this season.

Unemployment Benefits Delayed Until Wed. Afternoon Due To Technical Difficulties

Unemployment benefits in the state have been delayed due to some technical difficulties at the Kansas Department of Labor.

Terry, a Topeka resident, called WIBW News on Wednesday morning after not receiving his weekly unemployment benefits on Tuesday. He says he tried to reach out to the Kansas Department of Labor via email and phone, but go no answers. The same was true when he called card services at Citibank, who supplies his unemployment insurance debit card.

Terry said he’s been receiving unemployment for about a month.

We reached out to the Department of Labor’s Communications Director Barbara Hersh who said, due to technical difficulties, unemployment funding has been delayed and full payment should be on debit cards by 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Hersh says they posted information about the delay on their website and social media.

We called Terry back after talking to Hersh and he was excited that soon he’ll be able to put gas in his car.


Reports Indicate RoadRunners Player Killed In Crash

A 19-year-old member of the Topeka RoadRunners is believed to be the person who died in an accident just east of Topeka.

The Topeka Capital Journal says people in the hockey community posted condolences Monday on social media to the family of Peter Halash.

The driver of a 2000 Jeep Cherokee was killed Sunday night when the vehicle left the roadway and struck a tree in the 4000 block of SE 21st, which is just east of 21st and Croco.

Police said hazardous road conditions and speed may have contributed to the crash, which remains under investigation.

Shawnee County Sheriff Herman Jones said Monday night his office was waiting on the Shawnee County coroner’s office to make an official identification.


Fly From Topeka To Chicago Beginning Tuesday

Air travelers in northeast Kansas no longer need to drive to Missouri to catch a flight to Chi-Town.

Eric Johnson has been president and director of airports for the Metropolitan Topeka Airport Authority since 2008.

He says when he first took the job, he saw an opportunity to provide air service to a community that’s been traveling to another state for their air service needs.

Additionally, Topeka’s rental car agencies, restaurants, hotels, and gas stations will benefit from having more air travelers in town.

“We did a study a few years ago that identified how much people from the Topeka area are spending on airfares out of Kansas City,” Johnson said. “That’s $127 million annually and we want to bring a piece of that home. With this air service, we’re on path to do that.”

Johnson encourages people to go to or and do some comparisons. He says see what’s available at Topeka Regional Airport and compare that with Kansas City.

Two daily flights from Topeka to Chicago are being offered beginning Tuesday.

“Chicago is the connecting hub for United Airlines and, with that one stop in Chicago, you can go to 130 other cities across the country, or you can connect and go to literally anywhere in the world.”

Johnson says the first flight to Chicago departs at 6 a.m. and the other around 3 p.m.


Driver Dead After Vehicle Hits Tree Outside Topeka

A person is dead after a vehicle hit a tree just outside Topeka’s city limits.

This happened in the 4000 block of SE 21st, which is just east of 21st and Croco.

Crews responded at about 10:45 Sunday night.

The Shawnee County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the crash.

Crews Recover Body Of Soldier Who Drowned At Milford Lake

Crews have recovered the body of a soldier who drowned at Milford Lake on Christmas Eve.

The body of 31-year-old Thomas Hedrick was found Wednesday afternoon just before 1:30.

Hedrick was duck hunting with a partner last week when he fell through the ice and never came back up.

The Geary County Sheriff’s Department was assisted in the search by several agencies including dive teams from Saline County, Overland Park police, and Mission Township fire.