Around 3:15 a.m. November 19, 2017, Deputy Brian Hensley responded to multiple calls of a potential motorist in need of assistance. Around the one mile point on northbound I-75, Dep. Hensley located an SUV parked in the left lane without any lights on.
Dep. Hensley activated his blue lights, and the male driver reacted by putting his hands out of the window and shouting that he was complying. When Dep. Hensley approached the driver’s window, he noticed that Robert Cook, 28, of Knoxville, Tennessee, was chewing on a green, leafy substance believed to be marijuana.
The driver appeared to be under the influence and was detained. Dep. Hensley returned to the SUV, where a 4-year-old boy was seated in the rear passenger area. In the floorboard was a white crystal substance, which field tested positive as methamphetamine.
Before Dep. Hensley could move the vehicle from the roadway, he was nearly struck by passing vehicles.
Cook stated he had used marijuana and “dabbed.” He was arrested for first-degree possession of a controlled substance (meth), possession of marijuana, tampering with physical evidence and driving on a DUI suspended license. Cook was also charged with endangering the welfare of a minor, first-degree wanton endangerment and first-degree wanton endangerment of a peace officer.
Williamsburg Police Officer J. Fulton assisted by transporting Cook to the Whitley County Detention Center while Dep. Hensley remained with the four-year-old until social services arrived.
During the wait, Dep. Hensley experienced physical affects associated with exposure to the drug fentanyl, which is an increasingly dangerous occurrence among first responders. The four-year-old and Dep. Hensley were medically evaluated at Jellico Community Hospital.
“Thank the good Lord someone called this in and an Angel was there to protect this innocent child until Deputy Hensley could arrive. When you think about what could’ve happened…” -Sheriff Colan J. Harrell