Press Release

Whitley County Sheriff Dept.

5 a.m. disturbance leads to three arrests

Around 5:30 a.m. May 12, 2018, Deputy Brian Hensley responded to a complaint that a man and woman were arguing inside a truck at the Little Spruce Creek Apartments complex.
Upon arrival, Dep. Hensley located the described truck. Inside was a man and a woman who appeared to be sleeping. Upon being awakened, they showed signs of intoxication. In plain view was a metal container often used to store pills, and in a door compartment was a bag containing several needles.
Upon further search, approximately 2.2 grams of a crystal-like substance believed to be methamphetamine was located in the metal container. Also located were small plastic bags. In the female’s purse was a digital weighing scale and more needles.
Arrested without incident were 28-year-old Branden Crusenberry and 32-year old Natasha Archer. Each is charged with first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance (meth, greater than two grams), first-degree possession of a controlled substance (meth), possession of drug paraphernalia and public intoxication.
During the investigation, Dep. Hensley learned that 34-year-old Betty Nichols may be in the apartment complex. Whitley County E911 verified Nichols had a non-payment of fines warrant for her arrest. Upon being located, she was also arrested.
All three were lodged in the Whitley Co. Detention Center.

Deputy injured by substance in syringe

Deputy Brandon Prewitt is recovering from an encounter with what’s believed to be heroin and an unknown substance.

On March 8, 2018, Dep. Prewitt responded to the rest area along I-75, where a concerned citizen called to report a man and a woman who appeared under the influence. Upon arrival, Dep. Prewitt observed a male slumped over the wheel and a female unresponsive in the passenger seat. A needle was in plain view.

Dep. Prewitt retrieved the needle, which contained a brown liquid. While doing so,  some of the liquid made contact with his gloves. While continuing his investigation, Dep. Prewitt began feeling a burning sensation at the location where the liquid landed on his gloves.

Dep. Prewitt continued his investigation. The male driver, once awakened, showed signs of intoxication and could not complete field sobriety tests. Next, the female was awakened and also could not complete field sobriety tests.

A search of the vehicle revealed four small bags containing a substance believed to be heroin. Another bag contained a crystal-like substance believed to be “ice” crystal methamphetamine. Also located were more needles.

Dep. Prewitt arrested Megan Sayne, 25, of Knoxville, Tennessee and Patrick Kenny, 36, of Lenoir City, TN. Both were charged with first-degree possession of a controlled substance (heroin), first-degree possession of a controlled substance (meth), public intoxication and possession of drug paraphernalia. They were lodged in the Whitley County Detention Center.

After transferring the two into the custody of the detention center, Dep. Prewitt sought medical aid at a local hospital. Pending tests will provide further information as to what caused Dep. Prewitt’s injuries. Despite lingering side effects, the sheriff’s department is thankful he was able to return home to his family.

The sheriff’s department is continuing the investigation and asks the public to please keep Dep. Prewitt, his family and all public safety employees in your thoughts or prayers while this nationwide threat continues to spread.

Vehicle pursuit, suspected meth seized

Around 1:30 a.m. May 4, 2018, Deputy Brian Hensley was patrolling in the Savoy area and attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a red Chevrolet Camaro. Upon activating his blue lights, the car sped up.

The pursuit turned onto a gravel road connecting Savoy Road and R.D. Rains Road, reaching approximately 50 miles per hour. The pursuit came to a sliding stop with one male exiting from the passenger door.

A short foot pursuit ensued, and without further incident, Dep. Hensley apprehended Samuel S. McFarland, 26, of Williamsburg.

Williamsburg Police Officer Elijah Hunter and his K9 partner assisted in the investigation. The K9 alerted to the presence of drugs. Found behind the driver’s seat was a bag containing what’s believed to be crystal methamphetamine, a glass pipe associated with smoking meth and a pill believed to be hydrocodone. McFarland also showed signs of intoxication.

McFarland was charged with two counts of first-degree possession of a controlled substance, first-degree fleeing or evading police (vehicle), second-degree fleeing or evading police (on foot), reckless driving, first-degree wanton endangerment (of a peace officer), possession of drug paraphernalia and DUI.

One arrested after toddler believed to have ingested drugs

Around 9:30 p.m. May 2, 2018, the sheriff’s department received information that a woman was laying unresponsive along Savoy Road. Whitley County E911 reported a second call believed to be involving the same woman and a two-year-old.

Deputies were in the Bee Creek area attempting to locate a person wanted on a felony arrest warrent and requested the assistance of the Williamsburg Police Department. Williamsburg Captain Eddie Cain and Detective Bobby Freeman responded until deputies Brandon Prewitt, Brian Hensley and Jonas Saunders could arrive.

Prior to law enforcement arrival, a man was able to bring the woman inside his home while others cared for the toddler. Linda Carr, 50, of R.D. Rains Road was found to show signs of impairment. The toddler, which had been in her care, was very disoriented and showed signs that suggested the toddler may have ingested drugs or a poisonous substance.

Whitley Co. EMS responded and transported the toddler to Baptist Health Corbin. A physician told Dep. Prewitt he believed the toddler had ingested a prescription drug.

Carr was searched, and on her person were needles, Suboxone strips, and inside her bra was a bottle of pills containing what’s believed to be clonazepam. Also located was a label from a prescription of gabapentin, which was not located.

Dep. Prewitt transported Carr to the hospital. After being medically cleared, she was lodged in the Whitley Co. Detention Center. Carr is charged with first-degree criminal abuse of a child under 12-years-old, public intoxication and possession of drug paraphernalia. She was also served with a warrant for non-payment of fines.

The toddler was expected to fully recover. Dep. Prewitt is continuing the investigation.

Fugitives arrested, suspected meth and cash seized

Around midnight April 26, 2018, Deputy Brian Hensley and Lieutenant Dennis Foley went to a Taylor Circle residence just outside Williamsburg in an attempt to locate 34-year-old Ashley Lay. She had one warrant issued in Laurel County and three warrants issued in Whitley County. One of the Whitley Co. warrants was for failure to appear for a jury trial, which made her a fugitive.
Upon arriving at the residence, Dep. Hensley observed Lay through a window. Upon announcing the presence of the sheriff’s department, Lay ran. Dep. Hensley forced entry. A man and a female were located in the kitchen.
Lt. Foley forced entry through a second door and located 34-year-old Thomas Schenck in a bathroom. Dep. Hensley located Lay in a bedroom closet.
During the search of the residence, deputies found within a bedroom a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana, weighing scales, bags containing approximately four grams of what’s believed to be crystal “ice” methamphetamine, needles, over 100 plastic bags consistent with drug trafficking and over $450 in cash.
The man located in the kitchen, 34-year-old Thomas J. Croley, was determined to be a fugitive wanted for arrest by Texas authorities. The female in the kitchen was identified but had no known warrants for her arrest.
Lay was arrested on four warrants. She was also charged with first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance (meth), first-degree possession of a controlled substance (meth), two counts of third-degree possession of a controlled substance, second-degree fleeing or evading police, resisting arrest and possession of marijuana.
Croley was arrested and charged with being a fugitive from another state. Schenck was arrested and charged with second-degree fleeing or evading police and hindering apprehension.
All were lodged in the Whitley Co. Detention Center. Dep. Jonas Saunders assisted, and Dep. Hensley is continuing the investigation.

Joint effort results in burglary arrest

Around 10 p.m. April 16, 2018, a Watts Creek Road resident called Whitley County E911 stating that he caught a man in one of his vehicles. The caller pursued the man and stated he entered Watson Chapel by breaking a window.

Deputies Jonas Saunders and Joe Prewitt responded. Williamsburg K9 Officer Elijah Hunter also responded and began tracking the suspect. The caller identified the suspected and provided a physical description.

While the K9 was tracking and the church grounds were being searched, Williamsburg officers located Thomas M. Helbig, 29, in a Cumberland Heights apartment. Located within the apartment was discarded clothing matching the caller’s description. In addition to the broken window, damage was done to the door to the fellowship hall.

Dep. Saunders arrested Helbig and charged him with two counts of second-degree burglary, the attempted theft by unlawful taking of property valued over $500 but under $10,000, disorderly conduct and public intoxication. Helbig was also served with an arrest warrant for failure to appear. He was lodged in the Whitley Co. Detention Center.