Press Release

Whitley County Sheriff Dept.

Multi-agency effort results in arrest

Around 11 p.m. January 31, 2018, sheriff deputies were assisted by Williamsburg officers in apprehending a man wanted by Kentucky State Police.

Deputy Jonas Saunders received information as to where 24-year-old Estel D. Leach could be located. Dep. Saunders and others had been attempting to assist KSP in apprehending Leach for over a month.

Leach was wanted for arrest on three counts of first-degree criminal abuse of a child under 12-years-old and three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment. He was also wanted for arrest relating to four parole violations.

The information Dep. Saunders received allowed deputies and city officers to surround Leach at a Williamsburg gas station. He was taken into custody without incident, and KSP was notified of his arrest.

Also arrested was 20-year-old Rodney L. Vanover. He is suspected of allowing Leach to stay at his residence off Hwy 1804 while knowing that Leach was wanted for arrest.

Several hours were dedicated to organizing the takedown. Dep. Saunders was assisted by deputies Jason Strunk and Brandon Prewitt; and Williamsburg Police Captain Eddie Cain, K9 Officer Elijah Hunter and officers Michael Taylor and David Rowe.

Leach and Vanover were lodged in the Whitley County Detention Center.

Complaint results in drug-related arrests

Around 11 p.m. January 21, 2018, Deputy Jonas Saunders responded to a suspicious vehicle complaint along Siler Cemetery Road. In plain view was an open alcoholic beverage container. Dep. Saunders asked Jerod W. Wright, 39, of Corbin to exit the vehicle, and from his boot fell a bag containing what’s believed to be methamphetamine. In the floorboard where Wright was seated was a glass pipe.

Upon further search of the vehicle, needles were found in the floorboard where rear passenger Ashley M. Douglas, 25, of Corbin, was seated.

Both appeared to be under the influence. Dep. Saunders arrested Wright for first-degree possession of a controlled substance (meth), possession of drug paraphernalia and public intoxication. Wright also had a warrant for his arrest stemming from a Whitley Co. felony case. Dep. Jason Strunk arrested Douglas for possession of drug paraphernalia and public intoxication. Both were lodged in the Whitley Co. Detention Center.

Joint agency operation results in fugitive, drug-related arrests

Around 3:50 p.m. January 20, 2018, deputies of Tennessee’s Campbell County Sheriff’s Department requested assistance from the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department in attempt to arrest two individuals believed to be in southern Whitley Co.

Deputy Brandon Prewitt accompanied Campbell Co. Deputies Raymond Surber and Jordan Huskey to a Bowlin Road residence. There, Tommy Worley, 30, and Nickie Worley, 25, both of Pioneer, TN were located and arrested without incident. Both were arrested by Dep. Prewitt as fugitives from another state. Arrest warrants stemmed from probation violations related to original charges involving narcotics. Both were lodged in the Whitley Co. Detention Center and will be extradited to TN.

Murder suspect apprehended –

Please share the following information to return calm to our community.

27-year-old Jeffrey Cole, suspected of a January 15, 2018 murder on Jordon Hollow Road, was apprehended on Jan. 16 after a second stabbing was reported South of Williamsburg.

Constable Dorman Patrick, Jr., Williamsburg Chief of Police Wayne Bird and K9 Officer Jim Poole and Kentucky State Police Troopers joined deputies in responding to the area around Sullivan’s Towing. At that location, a male was stabbed and sustained non life-threatening injuries.

Cole, considered armed and dangerous, was located after an exhaustive search. The sheriff’s department is continuing to investigate today’s assault, and Kentucky State Police will continue investigating yesterday’s murder.

The sheriff’s department would also like to thank Whitley Co. E911 dispatchers for coordinating multiagency communications and firefighters who assisted in the search.

Cole was transported to Saint Joseph London due to potential complications from hypothermia.

The sheriff’s department will release more information when appropriate; all questions regarding the Jan. 15 murder should be directed to Kentucky State Police.

Report: 2017 Documented Activity

In 2017 deputies responded to 12,860 documented* calls for service. Below is an analysis of those calls.

“There are days that deputies don’t get lunch or dinner. I am proud of them and their service to our community, and I appreciate them. These numbers show how active the department is but also show the variety of calls. Please take a moment to offer a few words of appreciation and support to your Whitley County sheriff deputies.” – Sheriff Colan J. Harrell

Safety Concerns:
-345 DUI complaints
-255 responses to activated Security Alarms
-187 requests for Extra Patrol
-287 reports of Suspicious Persons
-193 requests for Welfare Checks (responding to concerns that a person is unresponsive or in danger)

Drug Activity complaints: 164

Violent Crimes:
-156 Assault investigation
-248 Domestic Assault investigations
-1 Rape investigation
-2 Robbery investigations (use or threat of force to commit theft)

Theft & Burglary: 418 (Note: Theft is unlawful taking, and burglary involves the unlawful entering of a structure)

Medical Assistance and Suicide / Mental Concerns: 213 / 107

Civil Papers and Warrants Service: 1,239

-446 Investigations
-518 Disturbance complaints
-155 Motorist Assist (helping drivers whose vehicles are not operable)
-111 Juvenile-related complaints
-98 Motor Vehicle Escorts

*Not all requests for service are documented; some requests are phoned into the sheriff’s office instead of Whitley County E911 or made in person.