Press Release

Whitley County Sheriff Dept.

Woman arrested for theft following fatal wreck

The Whitley County Sheriff’s Department regrets to confirm that a fatal motorcycle wreck was reported to Whitley Co. E911 around 11:45 a.m., July 26, 2017. Sergeants Todd Shelley and Dave Lennon were dispatched to KY 1064 in the Whetstone community, where a motorcycle occupied by one man lost control and struck a tree down an approximately 20 feet embankment.

Scott B. Bray, 36, of the Poplar Creek community was pronounced dead at the scene by Whitley Co. Coroner Andy J. Croley.

Witnesses stated that before Sergeants Shelley and Lennon could arrive, a female obtained Bray’s wallet and removed cash from it. The female, Alishia M. McElfresh, was arrested and charged with theft by unlawful taking under $500 and tampering with physical evidence. McElfresh was lodged in the Whitley Co. Detention Center.

Whitley Co. EMS and members of the Woodbine and Oak Grove fire departments responded to the scene. The investigation is continuing by the sheriff’s department and coroner’s office.

Hammer used in domestic dispute

Around 4:30 p.m. July 21, 2017, the sheriff’s department received information that a father and son were engaged in a domestic dispute at a Nicky Lane residence in the Hemlock community.

Upon investigation, it was determined that a verbal argument escalated into a physical confrontation. The son sustained injuries to his hand and head after the father reportedly struck him with a hammer.

The victim was transported by Whitley County EMS to Baptist Health Corbin. The accused, 57-year-old William Helbig, was arrested without incident. He was lodged in the Whitley Co. Detention Center and is charged with first-degree assault.

Deputy Johnny Miller is continuing the investigation. He was assisted at the scene by Sheriff Colan J. Harrell and deputies Mike Lawson and Cody Harrell.

Vehicle, foot pursuit results in arrest

Around 5 p.m. July 10, 2017, Deputy Jonas Saunders was patrolling in the Canadatown community when he observed a red Ford disregard a stop sign. The vehicle was turning from Log Cabin Road onto Hwy 90.
Dep. Saunders attempted to conduct a traffic stop. Instead of stopping, the vehicle increased its speed. The manner of driving was erratic and at times endangered others.
When the vehicle came to a stop, the driver, Darrell Jones, 24, of Pineville, fled on foot. Dep. Saunders was able to catch Jones and placed him under arrest. Jones had warrants for his arrest and was lodged in the Whitley County Detention Center.
Before Saunders left the jail, he conducted a search of his cruiser and found drug paraphernalia in the backseat area.
Jones was charged with first-degree fleeing or evading police in a vehicle and a second count for fleeing on foot, DUI, operating a motor vehicle on a suspended or revoked license, possession of drug paraphernalia and tampering with physical evidence. He was also charged with disregarding a stop sign, reckless driving, improper passing and failure to signal. Jones also faces charges of contempt of court and had two warrants for failure to appear.
Dep. Saunders was assisted by Sergeant Jeff Anderson and Kentucky State Police Trooper Jeremy Elliott.

Firearms & marijuana plants seized, two arrested

Around 9 p.m. July 11, 2017, Deputy Jonas Saunders responded to a mental health petition. When he approached the Luther Collins Road residence in Williamsburg one male fled the residence on foot. Williamsburg Police Department K9 Officer Brandon Prewitt and Chief Wayne Bird assisted in the search for the man, but he was not located.
Deputy Johnny Miller also responded and located two marijuana plants growing behind the residence. In the area that the male fled, a 9 millimeter pistol was found. Records indicated the pistol was reported stolen out of Campbell County, Tennessee.
A search of the home revealed a sawed off shotgun, which Robert A. Cole, 49, of Whitley City, stated was his.. Tricia Croley, 42, was believed to be under the influence while in custody of grandchildren in the residence.
Cole was arrested and charged with two counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, receiving stolen property (firearm) and tampering with physical evidence. Croley was arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of a minor, cultivating marijuana and public intoxication. Both were lodged in the Whitley County Detention Center.

Whitley man shot, suspect arrested

Around 4 a.m. July 7, 2017, Lieutenant Dennis Foley responded to a Barton Road residence in the Rockholds community after a man was shot.

According to statements, Kenneth Wagers, 49, of Corbin entered the victim’s home and after a confrontation shot the 43-year-old man with a shotgun. The victim was shot in the thigh and transported to the University of Kentucky Medical Center.

Wagers had left the scene before Lt. Foley arrived and could not be located at his home.

Around 10 a.m., Sheriff Colan Harrell, Sergeant Todd Shelley, Sergeant Jeff Anderson and Detective John Hill returned to Wagers’s residence and found him inside and asleep. He was taken into custody without incident.

Wagers is charged with criminal attempt to commit murder, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and first-degree burglary.

*Note: Wagers appears on JailTracker to be charged with murder. That is due to technical issues involving statute, but at this time he is charged with criminal attempt to commit murder.