Press Release

Whitley County Sheriff Dept.

Deputy talks armed teenager out of tree

After three hours, a tense situation involving an armed and reportedly suicidal 17-year-old female ended without injuries.

Around 7 p.m. Saturday, August 27, 2016, Whitley County E911 received information that a teenage girl had left a residence armed and intended to harm herself.

Whitley County Emergency Management Director Danny Moses and several Williamsburg Police Officers first found the female in a tree stand in the Savoy community.

Deputy James Fox arrived and was transferred command of the scene. The girl reportedly had a .32 caliber handgun and knives in her possession. Dep. Fox went to the girl and from the ground spoke to her for approximately two hours.

Risking his own safety, Dep. Fox stayed near the tree stand, built a rapport with the teenager and kept her calm. She eventually descended from the tree stand but had in her possession a large hunting-style knife. When she tried to return to the tree stand, Dep. Fox deployed his Taser, disarmed her and brought the incident to an end without injury to the teenager or any first responders. No firearm was found, but multiple knives and brass knuckles were located.

Sheriff Colan Harrell was at the scene and commends Dep. Fox for his calmness and compassion during the tense situation.

The sheriff’s department would also like to thank Williamsburg Police Department Sergeant Brandon White and officers David Rowe and Elijah Hunter; Kentucky State Police Sgt. Les Moses and Trooper Matt Ridner; Whitley Co. Emergency Management Director Danny Moses; members of Whitley County EMS; and Whitley Co. E911 dispatchers for their assistance.

“Barn Burner” extinguished

On August 20, 2016, an event involving underage drinking with an estimated 300 participants was broken up following tips to the sheriff’s department. Tips alleged that underage drinking was being allowed at a farm located off Cripple Creek Road. Deputy James Fox was patrolling along US Hwy 25 and observed a high amount of traffic heading in the direction of that location.

Dep. Fox requested the assistance of deputies Jonas Saunders, Brian Hensley and CSO Ray Salas. Dep. Fox contacted Kentucky State Police and received assistance from three State Troopers and Williamsburg Police Officer Cody Jeffries.

Upon arrival, officers encountered a crowd of approximately 300 persons. Many were underage, intoxicated and were from multiple counties.

In the crowd was Douglas Monroe Jones, 51, of Cripple Creek. Dep. Fox arrested Douglas Jones for counts of unlawful transaction with a minor and alcohol intoxication in a public place.

Dep. Hensley arrested 19-year-old Dustin White for alcohol intoxication in a public place and second-degree disorderly conduct after White refused to comply with law enforcement commands.

Jail records indicate State Trooper Jeremy Elliott arrested 22-year-old Tyler A. Jones for resisting arrest, second-degree disorderly conduct, menacing and alcohol intoxication in a public place.

No drugs were located. Those allowed to leave the location passed portable breath tests and field sobriety tests. Officers also had to contact parents of the minors. The sheriff’s department is continuing an investigation.

“Some of these kids at this self-described ‘Barn Burner’ were from as far away as Somerset. I hate to think of what may have happened if this party wasn’t interrupted. So many things could have gone bad and potentially ruined or ended a life. The department appreciates being made aware of this location’s reputation. Tips are very beneficial and we welcome them.” -Sheriff Colan J. Harrell

Wreck results in one death

The sheriff’s department regrets to confirm that one person has died as result of a July 31, 2016 wreck, which occurred at the intersection of Hwy 204 and US Hwy 25.

The sheriff’s department continued contact with University of Tennessee Medical Center and received notice around 6:30 p.m. August 4 that Russell Mays, born in 1982, of East Bernstadt, succumbed to injuries sustained during the wreck.

Seven people were injured in the wreck. Russell Mays was one of three people airlifted to the UT Medical Center for treatment.

Deputy Jonas Saunders is continuing the investigation.

Human remains located

The sheriff’s department regrets to confirm reports that the body of a deceased female was located in the Bee Creek area on July 29, 2016.

The remains will be sent to Frankfort for examination by the state’s medical examiner’s office. The Whitley Co. Coroner’s Office and Whitley County Sheriff’s Department are continuing the investigation. Further information will be released when it is appropriate.

13-year-old charged in assault

Around 10:30 p.m. July 27, 2016, Sergeant Dave Lennon responded to an altercation at a Goldbug community residence. According to the call for assistance, a 13-year-old female had physically assaulted her great grandmother. The incident reportedly stemmed from an argument over the use of an electronic device.

Upon arrival, Sgt. Lennon made contact with the family. The victim had visible injuries about her face and head. Due to the extent of her injuries, the aid of Whitley County EMS was requested.

Sgt. Lennon later learned that the great grandmother was transported by ambulance from Baptist Health Corbin to the University of Kentucky Medical Center.

The juvenile offender was taken into custody and charged with second-degree assault. She was lodged in the Breathitt County Juvenile Detention Center. Deputy Joe Prewitt assisted in the investigation.

Two airlifted after July 25 wreck

Around 3:30 p.m. July 25, 2016, Deputy Jonas Saunders responded to a single vehicle wreck along Hwy 92 near Verne Road.
A black, 1993 Ford F-150 truck was traveling North on Hwy 904 when it entered a curve and went over a steep embankment. The truck struck a tree and came to rest approximately 100 feet from the roadway.
The passenger, Vanessa Adams, was ejected from the vehicle. She and the driver, Johnny Johnson, were flown separately from the Nevisdale school to the University of Tennessee Medical Center.
Speed is believed to be a contributing factor in the wreck. Neither were believed to be wearing a seatbelt at the time of the wreck. As of today, July 26, hospital staff say both patients have been released.
Sergeant Dave Lennon, Patterson Creek Fire Department and Whitley County EMS assisted at the scene. Dep. Saunders is continuing the investigation.

Handgun fired during altercation

| Jul 23, 2016 | Uncategorized

Around 10 a.m. July 22, 2016, sheriff deputies were notified that a shooting had occurred at a Perkins Street residence in the Woodbine community.

Sergeant David Lennon and Detective John Hill responded and made contact with a person who stated Bryan Karr, 53, of Perkins Street, pointed a pistol in their direction after a verbal argument. When deputies tried to detain Karr, he resisted.

Karr reportedly put a handgun to his head and then pointed it at the victim. When the victim grabbed the pistol, it discharged inside the residence.

The victim sustained non-life threatening injuries when the gun was fired and was treated at the scene by Whitley County EMS. Two others, including one person under the age of 18, were inside the residence but were not harmed.

Karr is charged with attempted murder, resisting arrest, two counts of wanton endangerment. He was lodged in the Whitley County Detention Center. Corbin Police Office Rick Baker and Kentucky State Police Trooper Dewayne Foley assisted.

Public help requested to locate auto theft suspect

Around 12:30 p.m. July 20, 2016, Sergeant Jeff Anderson was dispatched to Cumberland Falls Auto, a car lot located South of Corbin along US Hwy 25.
According to the business operator, a female identified as Laurel Lee Colley, 30, of Hickory Nut Road in Nancy, Kentucky, had taken a black 2005 Chevrolet Equinox for a test drive but had not returned.
Sgt. Anderson determined that the vehicle Colley left at the car lot, a 1994 white Nissan, was reported stolen to the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department on July 12, 2016. Records also indicate Pulaski County officials have an active warrant for Colley’s arrest.
Sgt. Anderson obtained a warrant for Colley’s arrest for theft by unlawful taking of an auto. At the time the black Chevy SUV was taken, its Kentucky license plate read X7509B. Anyone with information of Colley’s whereabouts is asked to call Whitley County E911 at (606) 549-6017.

Ditch detains a duo of accused burglars

Around 3:30 a.m. July 11, 2016, Deputy James Fox responded to a reported wreck along US Hwy 25 near Town and Country Motors, which is located in the Goldbug community.

Upon arrival, Dep. Fox made contact with two men. A van was stuck in a ditch between the car lot and the highway, and a pickup truck was off stopped ahead of the van.

Visible inside the van was a variety of tools, and the door to the car lot’s office building appeared to have been breached. The owner of the car lot identified the tools as having been stored in the office as property of the business. The truck was also identified as belonging to the car lot.

Ronald Wayne Richardson, 49, of Somerset was arrested and is charged with third-degree burglary, theft by unlawful taking of an automobile valued between $500 and $10,000, theft by unlawful taking from a building valued between $500 and $10,000 and possession of marijuana. Dep. Fox located the marijuana concealed in the driver seat area.

Donald Steve Phillips, 54, of Nancy, Kentucky, was arrested and is charged with third-degree burglary, theft by unlawful taking of an automobile valued between $500 and $10,000, theft by unlawful taking from a building valued between $500 and $10,000 and operating a motor vehicle on a suspended or revoked license.

Richardson and Phillips were each lodged in the Whitley County Detention Center. Sergeant Kirk Mays and Williamsburg Police Department officers Mike Taylor and Tim Shelley assisted at the scene.

Whitley County man struck by train

Around 7 a.m. July 6, 2016, sheriff deputies were notified that a person had been struck by a train between the Sandy Flats and Saxton communities, approximately eight miles South of Williamsburg.

According to information gathered at the scene, a man was walking along the railroad tracks and failed to move far enough away to prevent being hit by the train.

Stephen C. Lawson, 51, of the Boston community was located over an approximately 60-feet-tall embankment. He was found wearing only socks.

Lawson was transported by Whitley County EMS to the Jellico Community Hospital. He was cited by sheriff deputies for third-degree criminal trespass and public intoxication.

Sergeant Todd Shelley, Sgt. Dave Lennon, Detective John Hill, Whitley Co. Emergency Management Director Danny Moses, South Whitley Volunteer Fire Department and the Williamsburg Fire Department responded.