Press Release

Whitley County Sheriff Dept.

Following drug-related arrests along I-75, the sheriff’s department is seeking the public’s help identifying possible burglary or theft victims.

Around 2 a.m. May 19, 2018, Deputy Brian Hensley observed a Volkswagen Beetle with its emergency flashers activated on the side of southbound I-75 near the 21 mile point. Dep. Hensley stopped to perform a motorists assist.

Upon exiting the vehicle, the male driver showed signs of intoxication. Whitley County E911 dispatchers were unable to identify the driver based on the information he provided Dep. Hensley. When the male went to retrieve a wallet from his vehicle, Dep. Hensley observed a handgun and took quick action to retrieve it before the driver or female passenger could.

Dep. Hensley learned the gun was fake, but lacked the colored tip to indicate it was a toy. The male was detained, and located on his person were needles and a bag containing spoons.

Dep. Hensley questioned the female passenger, Hannah N. Roberts, 23, of Knoxville, Tennessee, who also appeared under the influence. Upon arrival of a Corbin Police Department Officer, Dep. Hensley searched the vehicle and discovered a “loaded” needle under the driver’s seat.

After extensive work by Whitley Co. E911, the driver was determined to be Michael A. Smith, 38, of Knoxville, Tn. Smith is charged with first-degree possession of a controlled substance, giving an officer a false name, possession of drug paraphernalia and public intoxication. Roberts is charged with first-degree possession of a controlled substance and public intoxication. Both were lodged in the Whitley Co. Detention Center.

The vehicle was loaded with household items that both claimed belonged to a third person. Dep. Hensley and Whitley Co. E911 contacted surrounding law enforcement agencies. At that time, no recent thefts or burglaries had been reported.

If you observed a black 1999 Volkswagen Beetle with gold spray paint on one door in your community, please contact Whitley Co. E911 at (606) 549-6017. Dep. Brian Hensley is continuing the investigation.