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Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Wichita, Kansas: 5 Star American Gothic Town

The more we read about the BTK Strangler and Wichita, Kansas the more gothic this city becomes. This tale from "toadie" a Wichita State University coed in the early 1980's is a good example:

I lived in Wichita for about 10 years. I attended WSU the summer of 1982 for a course in psychology. I was 22 at the time. I used to drive home either down 21st street or 13th street to the west side of town.

One day as I left class, I drove down a street between 13th and 21st. I went thru a school zone at about 35 miles an hour, and was pulled over by a cop. I stopped across from a park, and looked in my rearview mirror. The car that stopped me was dark blue in color, and the flashing lights were those similiar to an unmarked sheriff's car. The officer that got out was wearing a dark blue uniform, similiar to those that the sheriff's office wore at the time. This officer had on mirror sunglasses, and flipped out a badge and was wearing a name tag - last name started with an "S" - long like Schroeder, Shusterman, etc. Anyway, he asked for my liscense and went back to his car. I sat there for about 10 minutes, sweltering in the heat, worried that my car would overheat on me, and I would be stuck in a "bad part of town."

Finally, he came back, and started talking to me about what I had done wrong - going over the school zone speed limit ( it was the noon hour.) He spent about 10 minutes berating me for wanting to kill children with my "fast" driving, and by that point, I just wanted my ticket, or warning, and to get the heck out of there. The more he talked, the more agitated he became. Wanted to know if I had children, was I married, and I couldn't see the point of those questions, but I answered them. I started to cry, and asked him to either give me a ticket, or give me a warning, because either way, I needed to go. I had seen only one person walking on the sidewalk when he stopped me, and very few cars had driven by, and I was starting to feel scared of this officer and his agitation. He told me that I could not go. I would need to "go downtown" with him, in his car. I told him that I did not want to leave my car in such a bad area of town, but that I would follow him "downtown" if needed. He insisted that I get out of the car, and leave my car. "I will have someone pick up your car if you're that worried about it." He wanted to know what someone like me was doing in that neighborhood, and that "nice girls" don't drive down those streets on their way home.

I had made up my mind, that no matter what, I would not leave my car, and told him that. asked him to call for back up, and that another officer could "go downtown" with my car following, then I would go with him. I couldn't see his eyes behind his glasses, but felt like he was getting more hostile. He stood there, and we looked at one another. I glanced down at his waist, and for some reason looked at the stripes on his pants. I had lived in an apartment several years ago, and my neighbor was a sheriff's officer, and I used to see him come home in the morning. The stripe color did not seem exactly right.

Long story short, he ended up pulling his gun on me, and tried to open my locked car door, insisting that I come with him. I put the car into drive and drove like a maniac as fast as I could...

When I got home, I talked with my husband. No officers arrived at my house to pick me up for leaving. I ended up calling the sheriff's office later that afternoon when I was at work, to report
how that officer had treated me, and how he had pulled a gun on me. They told me that they did not have an officer by that name. I asked them about their cars, and the lights were in the wrong place for an unmarked car. They also confirmed my feelings about the stripe down the pant leg being incorrect.

I had been pulled over by a man impersonating a police officer, and who did a fine job of it - badge, name tag, gun, correct color, make and model of car, correct color of uniform except for the stripes. Later, I remembered hearing about some woman abondoning her car at a grocery store on North Broadway, and disappearing in broad daylight. I have often wished that I would have told my story to the WPD at the time, instead of just talking to the sheriff's office. The sheriff's office never did send an officer out to talk to me, and as far as I know, no report was ever taken, unless it was notes from our phone conversation....

Have You Heard About This????? [toadie-Kansas.com Msg Board]

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