A Corbin man has been charged with child abuse after two young girls in his care were found walking along U.S. 25 after midnight Saturday.
Tracy Smith, 41, was charged with third-degree criminal abuse and public intoxication – controlled substance.
A passerby called 911 at approximately 12:10 a.m. after seeing the girls, ages 8 and 10, walking south along the roadway.
Upon returning the girls to the residence on Laurel Whitley Road off U.S. 25, Deputy Gary Mehler, spoke with Smith, who reportedly said he thought the girls had left with another adult.
Mehler reported that Smith showed multiple signs of intoxication, including bloodshot and glassy eyes. Upon further questioning, Smith admitted to having smoked marijuana at approximately 5 p.m.
Acciardo said Smith was charged with child abuse because the girls were in his custody. One is related to him and the second is a friend of the first who was visiting.
Smith is being held in the Laurel County Correctional Facility on a $2,500 cash bond.
“We were just lucky that this lady driving down the highway saw the girls and called 911,” said Deputy Gilbert Acciardo, the department’s public affairs officer, noting that portion of U.S. 25 is narrow and has little shoulder area for pedestrians to walk.
Acciardo added that while area law enforcement answers numerous calls, the calls are prioritized based on the nature and circumstances.
As such, anytime anyone sees something suspicious they are encouraged to call 911, or, if they don’t feel it is warranted, the non-emergency number.
In Laurel County, the non-emergency number is 878-7000. In Corbin, it is 528-1122. In Whitley County it is 549-6017.
“That is an extra set of eyes for us,” Acciardo said.