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.