Former Goddard mayor, statehouse candidate enters guilty plea in drunken driving case

Former Goddard mayor and Kansas House of Representatives candidate Hunter Larkin will spend six months on probation after pleading guilty last week to one count of misdemeanor driving under the influence stemming from a traffic stop in west Wichita last fall.

Larkin, 23, was also ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and complete a DUI Victim’s Panel, his plea and sentencing records show. The panels pair offenders with victims to help them realize the negative consequences of impaired driving, according to the DUI Victims Center of Kansas.

If Larkin is successful on probation, his fine will be reduced to $750, Dan Dillon, a spokesman for the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office, said in an email confirming the sentence. That includes following all recommendations of a drug and alcohol evaluation, avoiding alcohol and all drugs without a legal prescription, staying employed, remaining in Kansas unless he gets permission to leave and obeying all laws and his probation officer’s directions, the court records say.

Larkin’s admission of guilt came after he waived his right to a jury trial. In exchange for the plea, prosecutors dismissed an alternative misdemeanor count of DUI and one count of failing to maintain a single lane, an infraction, court records show.

A Kansas Highway Patrol trooper arrested and jailed Larkin after seeing him failing “to maintain a single lane of traffic” in a Nissan Altima just before 1:30 a.m. on Nov. 13, 2021, a spokesman for the agency told The Eagle last year. The trooper pulled Larkin over on westbound Kellogg at the Tyler Road exit, KHP spokesman Trooper Chad Crittenden said.

Larkin, a Republican, abruptly resigned as mayor of Goddard in May after a Wichita Eagle opinion column raised ethics questions about his relationship with developers who contributed to his campaign while actively doing business with city hall. Before the resignation, Larkin was also vying for the Kansas House of Representatives seat in District 101, which covers a swath of west Wichita and Goddard as well as portions of Sedgwick and Reno counties. But he apparently withdrew from the race sometime before the August primary election.

Larkin was appointed to fill the mayoral seat in Goddard in August 2020 after former mayor Jamey Blubaugh left the post about the same time prosecutors charged him and his wife with counterfeiting tickets to the Sedgwick County Zoo’s 2019 Zoobilee fundraiser. Larkin also served as president of the Goddard City Council before stepping in as mayor, served on the Career and Technical Education Board for the Goddard public schools and in 2020 lost a primary bid for the Sedgwick County Commission seat in District 3, The Eagle previously reported.