Press Release

Whitley County Sheriff Dept.

Single vehicle fatal wreck – March 23, 2017

The sheriff’s department regrets to confirm a single vehicle crash resulted in the death of a Golden’s Creek community resident. Glen Gentry, 76, was the only occupant of a 2002 GMC Sierra truck, which overturned along Rock Springs Road near the Mulberry community.

Detective John Hill was dispatched to the scene around 2:30 p.m. March 23, 2017. Members of the Patterson Creek Fire Department, Whitley County EMS and Whitley Co. Coroner Andy Croley also responded. Neither drugs nor alcohol are suspected to be factors.

Please join the sheriff’s department in keeping Gentry’s family and friends in your thoughts or prayers.

Pursuit ends in meth-related arrest

Around 2 a.m. March 15, 2017, K9 Deputy Brian Hensley was providing extra patrol in the area of Corinth Road south of Corbin due to complaints of drug activity.

Dep. Hensley attempted to stop a red Chevrolet Corvette, which speeded off and turned onto Bacon Creek Road. In pursuit of the car, Dep. Hensley reached speeds in excess of 90 miles-per-hour. The Corvette eventually stopped on Bacon Creek Road, and Dep. Hensley made contact with Billy J. Thomas, 45, of the Bee Creek community.

Whitley County E911 reported that Thomas was driving on a suspended or revoked license. Thomas was detained, and in the vehicle’s ashtray was a pipe containing residue and two pieces of a substance believed to be crystal methamphetamine.

Thomas was arrested and is charged with second-offense first-degree possession of a controlled substance (meth), second-degree fleeing/evading police, possession of drug paraphernalia, operating a motor vehicle on a suspended or revoked license, failure to maintain insurance, and reckless driving. Thomas was also arrested for a parole violation.

WHO helps law enforcement help children

On March 9, 2017, Sheriff Colan Harrell accepted a donation of over 70 hand-sewn stuffed toys from Women Helping Others (WHO) in Corbin. The toys were donated to help sheriff deputies provide comfort to children who are victims of abuse or being removed from an unsafe environment.

Sheriff Harrell also accepted on behalf of the department 100 bags so that affected children have something of quality in which to pack personal items before being relocated. Sadly, some children leave home with their belongings packed in nothing more than plastic bags.

“In a perfect world, toys wouldn’t need to be part of the tools we keep in our cruisers. But first responders are called upon to protect, calm and comfort. There’s no doubt this generous act of kindness will have a positive effect on the lives of children who really need to know someone cares about them. Thank you to Women Helping Others and also the Busy Bee Homemaker’s Club.” -Sheriff Colan J. Harrell

Wreck results in seizure of suspected meth, DUI arrest

Around 9 p.m. March 7, 2017, a passerby notified Whitley County E911 that a black SUV had wrecked off Hwy 26 in the Rockholds community. Deputy Jonas Saunders responded and found the SUV on its top in a ditch.

Dep. Saunders made contact with Jerry Lee Lawson, 48, of Tidal Wave Road, Corbin. Lawson showed signs of intoxication. During the investigation, Lawson raised his hands and declared he had no unlawful substances in his possession. At that time, Dep. Saunders noticed an object clenched in Lawson’s hand.

Lawson was holding a bag containing a substance believed to be methamphetamine. Lawson also had in his possession pills believed to be hydrocodone, plastic baggies and a straw with residue on it.

Lawson refused treatment by EMS. He was lodged in the Whitley Co. Detention Center and is charged with DUI, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance (meth), two counts of first-degree possession of a controlled substance, possession of a prescription controlled substance not in its original container and possession of drug paraphernalia. K9 Dep. Brian Hensley assisted.

Traffic stop results in meth arrest

Around 10 p.m. February 27, 2017, Deputy Jonas Saunders conducted a traffic stop along Nannie Hubbard Road in the Candatown community. Dep. Saunders observed a small plastic bag containing what’s believed to be methamphetamine in the front passenger side floorboard. Nearby was a glass pipe concealed within a sock.
The front passenger, Aaron Dewayne Cox, 32, of Davenport Lane was charged with first-degree possession of a controlled substance (meth) and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was lodged in the Whitley County Detention Center. Sergeant James Fox assisted in the investigation

Two stolen vehicles recovered – five arrested, one cited

On February 21, 2017, Whitley County E911 received information about a stolen vehicle. K9 Deputy Brian Hensley located the Pontiac G6 at the described location. Upon arrival, several people fled from the residence, including two jumping from a second story window.
Dep. Jonas Saunders immediately started travelling to K9 Dep. Hensley’s location. Williamsburg K9 Officer Elijah Hunter also responded to assist in efforts to apprehended those who fled.
Dispatchers confirmed the described Pontiac was stolen in Whitley Co., and a second vehicle, a silver Honda Civic, was reported stolen from Tennessee.
Five persons were arrested, and K9 Dep. Hensley is continuing the investigation. Those arrested were:
Dexter Lawrence Fitzpatrick, Jr., 28, of Jellico, TN
Jonathan Nathan Thornton, 26, of Williamsburg
Joseph Lee Ellison, 35, of Jellico, TN.
Heather Nicole Bowlin, 29, of Williamsburg
Joshua K. Overbay, 29, of Jellico, TN
Fitzpatrick was charged with second-degree fleeing or evading police (on foot) and receiving stolen property under $10,000.
Thornton was charged with receiving stolen property under $10,000.
Bowlin was charged with receiving stolen property under $10,000.
Ellison was arrested related to a bench warrant, and he was charged with giving an officer a false name, tampering with physical evidence, illegal possession of a legend drug and receiving stolen property under $10,000. Ellison was placed in a cruiser and after afterward a search of the rear section of the cruiser revealed needles and drugs.
Overbay was arrested on a warrant for failure to appear and charged with second-degree fleeing or evading police (on foot), resisting arrest and receiving stolen property under $10,000. The resisting arrest charged stem from Overbay’s refusal to comply with a deputy’s orders.
Jamie Hoover, 28, of Williamsburg, was transported to the hospital for injuries sustained while jumping from the second story window. Because he required medical treatment, Hoover was cited for second-degree fleeing or evading police and public intoxication.

Two women arrested for burglary

Around 11 a.m. February 23, 2017, Chief Deputy Tim Baker received information that persons were unlawfully inside a property in the Goldbug community. According to the caller, the same black Chrysler 300 sedan seen at that time had been seen at the property before items were previously reported missing.
When Chief Dep. Baker arrived, he encountered two females inside a residence.
Chief Dep. Baker arrested Nancy Michael, 37, and Felisha Earls, 27, both of the Canadatown community. Each was charged with third-degree burglary. Both were lodged in the Whitley County Detention Center.

Deputies respond to firetruck wreck

First responders are in danger the moment they begin responding to an emergency. Sadly, public servants seeking to protect the public or their property are subject to injury and death while trying to reach those in need.

On February 23, 2017, Sergeant Todd Shelley and Detective John Hill responded to the wreck of a Woodbine Fire Department firetruck. The wreck occurred on Louden Road, which is located off of Hwy 92E. The firetruck was occupied by two firefighters and was en route to assist a fellow agency combatting a structure fire.

Two firefighters were injured and transported to Baptist Health Corbin. Neither suffered serious injuries.


Woman arrested for resisting arrest, fighting officers

Around 2 p.m. February 20, 2017, Shannon Fox Hamblin, 42, of Rockholds was in Whitley County Circuit Court before Judge Paul Winchester for a bond revocation hearing. The bond was revoked for absconding probation supervision and for drug test result indicating the presence of methamphetamine.
Judge Winchester determined Hamblin was in contempt of court and ordered her to jail. She became very upset and said she would not go to jail. Court Security Officer David Engle attempted to control the situation, and she refused to comply. Head of court security, Brian Kirby, and Bailiff Ed Traveny responded to assist.
Hamblin was extremely combative and challenged officers to shoot her before she’d go back to jail. Hamblin had to be physically taken by the three men out of the courtroom and could be heard shouting while escorted to a holding area even after the courtroom door was closed.
In the holding area, Hamblin continued to resist and had to be taken to the ground to be handcuffed. She continued to resist, kicking one of the officers and causing injury. Due to her combativeness, Williamsburg Police were requested to assist in her transport to jail. She resisted efforts to place her into the cruiser and then requested medical evaluation.
Williamsburg Detective Bobby Freeman requested Whitley Co. EMS. She was transported to Baptist Health Corbin, where two court security officers stayed with her until she was discharged and lodged in the Whitley Co. Detention Center. Hamblin was arrested for contempt of court and charged with second-degree assault on a peace officer, resisting arrest, second-degree disorderly conduct and public intoxication.
WKYT obtained video of the incident, which can be viewed on their website:

Gun theft leads to meth bust at motel

Around 3 a.m. February 18, 2017, K9 Deputy Brian Hensley responded to a report of a stolen handgun at a Hwy 25S residence. The homeowner stated that he allowed a female into his home because she claimed to have been beaten by her boyfriend and was seeking a place to spend the night. According to the homeowner, the woman followed him into a bedroom and stated that she was a prostitute. He said that when he declined her advance, she left. After she left, he noticed a nightstand drawer was open and a .38 caliber revolver was missing.
The man could not name the female but provided Dep. Hensley with a physical description. On Feb. 19, Williamsburg Police Officer Cody Jeffries contacted Dep. Hensley regarding a woman matching the description of the gun thief. Dep. Hensley located her at the Budget Inn Motel.
The 39-year-old female showed signs of injury. She admitted to stealing the handgun but said she had sold it.
Dep. Hensley and Officer Jeffries went to another motel room, where they made contact with Travis Partin, 34, of Jellico. During a search of the room, approximately eight grams of methamphetamine were found hidden under the bathroom sink. Several needles were found hidden in the toilet tank. A .22 caliber Colt Peacemaker revolver was found hidden in the motel wall. Partin denied that the items were his and stated that they all belonged to the female.
The female was transported by ambulance to a nearby hospital for treatment due to her injuries. Partin was arrested and is charged with possession of a handgun by a convicted felon, first-degree possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was lodged in the Whitley County Detention Center.
Dep. Hensley is continuing the investigation.