Press Release

Whitley County Sheriff Dept.

Two stolen vehicles recovered in two days

On October 16, 2016, Deputy James Tabor responded to the northbound I-75 rest area after a person reported a male slumped over a vehicle’s steering wheel. Dep. Tabor located the described vehicle and made contact with Josh A. Abee, 36, of North Carolina and a passenger, Erin Absher, 31, of Indiana.

According to a national database, the vehicle Abee was behind the wheel of had been reported stolen from Morgantown, North Carolina. Abee was arrested and charged with receiving stolen property valued over $10,000, public intoxication and possession of a forged prescription for a legend drug.

Absher, the passenger, was arrested and charged with receiving stolen property valued over $10,000. Both were lodged in the Whitley County Detention Center.

Around 10 a.m. Oct. 17, Dep. Cody Harrell and Sergeant Todd Shelley received information that a Pontiac coupe reported stolen from Knoxville may be located in the Whippoorwill Road area.

While investigating the tip, Sgt. Shelley located a vehicle matching the caller’s description at a residence on Osborne Lane. National records indicated the vehicle had been reported stolen from Knoxville, Tennessee.

Sgt. Shelley arrested Arnold Lee Fee, Jr., 29, of Bristol, Tennessee. Fee was charged with receiving stolen property valued under $10,000. He was lodged in the Whitley Co. Detention Center.

*Pictured: Pontiac G5 reported stolen from Knoxville, TN – recovered on Osborne Lane. stolen-car1

Counterfeit Currency Advisory

Lcounterfeit-10-17-16ocal businesses are encouraged to be extra vigilant in regard to potentially counterfeit $100 bills. Recently, counterfeit $100 bills have been passed in Corbin, at an Exit 15 business in Williamsburg and even at the sheriff’s department.

Markers designed to detect counterfeit bills did not identify the phony money. At this time, none of the counterfeit bills had the newest plastic-like strip stretching vertically across the currency. It is unclear how the currency avoided detection by the markers.

Chief Deputy Tim Baker is leading the local investigation. Anyone with information about the counterfeit scheme is asked to call Whitley County E911 at (606) 549-6017.

Update on Oct. 13 wreck that closed US Hwy 25

On October 13, 2016, a wreck occurred along US Hwy 25 near Black Oak in Southern Whitey County. Due to the severity of the wreck, Kentucky State Police was called to reconstruct the accident scene.

Initial findings by sheriff’s deputies indicate that an early 1990’s Chevrolet truck was travelling northbound on US Hwy 25 when the steering locked up, according to the driver. The truck collided head-on with a Pontiac coupe traveling southbound.

The driver of the Pontiac, 53-year-old Tammy Chapman, had to be extricated from the vehicle by fire and rescue workers. She was airlifted to the University of Tennessee Medical Center. As of 11 p.m. Oct. 14, she is considered to be in “serious” condition.

The driver of the Chevrolet truck, 33-year-old Wanda Kilgore, was also airlifted to the UT Medical Center. Hospital staff report that she was treated and discharged.

A male passenger in Kilgore’s truck was transported by Whitley County EMS to Jellico Community Hospital.

Deputy Joe Prewitt, who is investigating the wreck, said no criminal charges are likely to be filed. Dep. Prewitt was assisted by Dep. Brian Hensley, Dep. James Tabor, Kentucky State Police Troopers Elliott and Larkey, the South Whitley Fire Department, Jellico Rescue Squad and the Jellico Police Department.

Please join the sheriff’s department in keeping those involved in this wreck in your thoughts or prayers. Also, thank you to all who helped share news that US Hwy 25 was closed due to the wreck and those who avoided the area.

Ohio fugitive arrested

Around 5 p.m. October 10, 2016, Deputy Jonas Saunders was patrolling southern Whitley County and received a report of suspicious activity near the Fast Trax gas station. Dep. Saunders stopped to speak to a man walking along US Hwy 25W. The man, Jason Johnson, 31, of Jellico, was determined to be wanted for arrest on a Whitley County warrant.

Upon further investigation, Johnson was found to have been entered into the National Crime Information Center (“NCIC”) as wanted for arrest by Ohio authorities. Whitley Co. E911 dispatchers confirmed Johnson was wanted by Ohio’s Shelby County Sheriff’s Department for a sex offender registration violation. Johnson was arrested and lodged in the Whitley Co. Detention Ceter.

Marijuana Bust on Lot Depot Road

Sheriff Colan Harrell reports that on 10-11-2016, K9-Deputy Brian Hensley, Deputy Jonas Saunders, and Deputy James Fox responded to 127 Lot Depot Road in reference to a complaint of the trafficking in narcotics.

Once the Deputies arrived at the location, two subjects took off running from them on foot toward a wooded area next to the residence. A female named Regina Raney,40 of Williamsburg was apprehended quickly before making it into the woods and her husband Carl Raney, 46 of Williamsburg was caught shortly after that in the woods. Both Regina Raney and Carl Raney were charged with Public Intoxication and Fleeing or Evading Police 2nd degree on foot.

The Deputies then made contact with the home owner and several other people inside the residence, including Billy Wilde, 31 of 127 Lot Depot Road Williamsburg Ky. and were given consent to search the residence. While Deputy Saunders was searching Billy Wilde’s bedroom, a cooler was located that contained multiple baggies of Marijuana packaged for sale. When Deputies questioned Billy Wilde about the Marijuana, he stated that he was trying to make some extra money. Also located in Billy Wilde’s bedroom was a pill container that had one half of a pill in it. Billy Wilde was charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance 3rd degree, Possession of Marijuana, Trafficking in Marijuana (felony), and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Meth lab found, public information requested

The sheriff’s department is asking that anybody with information about methamphetamine manufacturing in or around the 1400 block of Hwy 1804 please contact authorities.

Around 10:30 p.m. October 4, 2016, Whitley County E911 received an anonymous tip that a meth lab could be located in the woods around 1450 Hwy. 1804.

Deputy Jonas Saunders responded and found a meth lab in the woods near an abandoned car. Nobody was near the lab.

No arrests were possible, and the sheriff’s department is requesting the public’s help in the continuing investigation. Anybody with information is encouraged to call Whitley Co. E911 at (606) 549-6017. Dep. Saunders is continuing the investigation.

Kentucky State Police Drug Enforcement and Special Investigations responded to safely remove the items and properly destroy them. It was determined there were two one-step labs and three other devices used in the manufacture of meth at the location.

Cocaine suspected in two traffic stops in two days

collinsAround 5 p.m. October 3, 2016, Deputy Jonas Saunders was patrolling in southern Whitley County. Upon stopping a vehicle near the Kentucky/Tennessee state line, Dep. Saunders learned that the driver, Heath Hickok, 30, of Williamsburg, was driving on a suspended or revoked license.
The passenger, Joseph L. Ellison, 35, of Jellico, was wanted for arrest relating to a bench warrant. When Dep. Saunders searched Ellison, he found on Ellison a small bag of a powdery substance believed to be cocaine.
Hickok was arrested and charged with operating a motor vehicle on a suspended or revoked license. Ellison was arrested and charged with first-degree possession of a controlled substance and public intoxication.
The next day, Oct. 4., Dep. Saunders was patrolling in southern Whitley Co. and noticed a black Nissan stopped along the road near the second Hwy 1804 intersection. The vehicle was occupied by three men.
Records indicated that one of the passengers, Wendel Malone, 42, of Jellico, was wanted for arrest on a bench warrant.
All three men were removed from the vehicle. Found laying on the front passenger seat was a bag containing a powdery substance believed to be cocaine. The bag was in the seat that had been occupied by Charles Collins, 45, of Williamsburg.
Malone was taken into custody pursuant to the warrant for his arrest. Collins was arrested and charged with first-degree possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and public intoxication.

Female wanted in trafficking in methamphetamine case apprehended

On October 1, 2016, Deputy Brian Hensley responded to a Maple Creek Road residence in reference to a trespassing complaint. Upon arrival, Dep. Hensley made contact with a female inside the residence who stated her name was Ashley Harmon but could not provide proper identification. When Dep. Hensley indicated that he believed she was providing a false name, the female fled on foot.

Dep. Hensley pursued the woman through a briar thicket and was able to apprehend her. With assistance from Whitley County E911 dispatchers and Whitley Co. Detention Center employees, the female was determined to be Tabitha Harmon, 25, of Corbin.

After learning her true identity, Dep. Hensley was notified that she had three warrants for her arrest, including one in a case for trafficking in methamphetamine. Harmon was also charged with giving an officer a false name, fleeing or evading police and resisting arrest. She was lodged in the Whitley Co. Detention Center.

Methamphetamine arrest in the Woodbine Community

Sheriff Colan Harrell reports that on 10-1-2016, Deputy Brian Hensley was patrolling Back St. in the Woodbine community when he noticed a male subject coming out of the woods with a shovel and a rake. Deputy Hensley made contact with Sammy D. Harrell, 43 of Woodbine and could tell that he was under the influence of an intoxicating substance. While Deputy Hensley was talking to Mr. Harrell, he noticed a needle sticking out from underneath his hat that had a liquid substance in it. Deputy Hensley asked Mr. Harrell what was in the needle and he advised that it was Methamphetamine. Deputy Hensley contacted the Whitley County Dispatch and they notified him that Mr. Harrell also had a Circuit Court warrant on him for Possession of a Controlled Substance 1st degree, 2nd offense for Methamphetamine.

Mr. Harrell was arrested for Public Intoxication, Possession of a Controlled Substance 1st degree (Methamphetamine), Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and the Circuit Court Warrant.

Wreck results in Georgia fugitive arrest

On September 28, 2016, Deputy Cody Harrell responded to a wreck at the intersection of Hwy 1804 and US Hwy 25. While investigating the wreck, Dep. Harrell asked the driver of a Chevrolet Monte Carlo for his driver’s license. David Lee Davis, 45, presented a Kentucky identification card but had no driver’s license in his possession.
Whitley County E911 determined that Davis was wanted for arrest by Georgia law enforcement for a drug-related crime. Records indicated that Georgia authorities were willing to extradite Davis so he could appear before a Georgia court.
Davis nor the female driver of the other vehicle did face charges related to the wreck. She and Davis were the only occupants of their respective vehicles and neither required medical attention at the scene. Area volunteer fire fighters assisted at the scene. Davis was lodged in the Whitley Co. Detention Center and will be returned to Georgia pursuant to the warrant for his arrest from that state.