Tips to the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department lead to the break-up of a “Barn Burner” party with underage drinking Friday night involving an estimated 300 participants, and a smaller party Saturday evening at the same location that involved about 50 people.
“We had received information about this party last week,” said Sheriff Colan Harrell. “I received it from Deputy James Fox and I told him to monitor the situation this weekend and take whatever action needed to be taken.”
Fox was patrolling along US25W between 10 and 11 p.m. Friday, when he observed a high amount of traffic heading in the direction of a farm located off Cripple Creek Road. In addition, Fox also received a report from 911 about the party.
Fox requested the assistance of deputies Jonas Saunders, Brian Hensley and Court Security Officer Ray Salas, and then the Kentucky State Police, which responded to the scene with three state troopers. Williamsburg Police Officer Cody Jeffries also assisted.
Upon arrival at 1286 Cripple Creek, officers encountered a crowd of over 300 people, many of whom were underage, intoxicated and were from multiple counties.
Numerous people fled the scene when police arrived, but 200 – 275 people did not flee. The majority were under the age of 21 and more than 60 were under the age of 18, Fox wrote on an arrest citation.
The owner of the property, Douglas Monroe Jones, 51, of Cripple Creek, was arrested at the scene and charged with 60 counts of unlawful transaction with a minor and alcohol intoxication in a public place.
Douglas Jones allegedly told police that he had drank between 12-15 beers that evening, according to his arrest citation.
Court records indicate KSP Trooper Jeremy Elliott arrested 22-year-old Tyler A. Jones, who is Douglas Jones son, charging him with resisting arrest, second-degree disorderly conduct, menacing and alcohol intoxication in a public place.
Hensley arrested 19-year-old Dustin White and charged him with alcohol intoxication in a public place and second-degree disorderly conduct after White refused to comply with law enforcement commands, Harrell said.
White pleaded guilty to the charges during his arraignment Monday.
Whitley District Judge Cathy Prewitt sentenced him to a probated 90-day jail sentence and fined him $125 plus court costs.
No drugs were located at the residence. Those allowed to leave the location passed portable breath tests and field sobriety tests. None of the juveniles were arrested for underage drinking but their parents were called.
“Some of these kids at this self-described ‘Barn Burner’ were from as far away as Somerset. I hate to think of what may have happened if this party wasn’t interrupted. So many things could have gone bad and potentially ruined or ended a life. The department appreciates being made aware of this location’s reputation. Tips are very beneficial and we welcome them,” Harrell noted.
Harrell said that he isn’t sure how word of the party spread except through social media.
Harrell estimated that officers were on the scene until about 2 a.m. Saturday.
Harrell said that officers were surprised when they got additional tips Saturday and had to respond to the same location again about 10 p.m. to break-up a second party, which had about 50 people.
Hensley arrested Tyler Jones a second time Saturday charging him with four counts of unlawful transaction with a minor. Hensley also arrested Joshua Byrge, 20, of Williamsburg, who was charged with four counts of unlawful transaction with a minor.
According to their arrest citations, Jones and Byrge were the ones having the party. The four minors ranged in age from 15-17 and their parents were contacted to come pick them up.
Saunders charged Dakota Dugger, 19, of Corbin, with possession of marijuana.
“We’re very grateful to the public for calling in,” Harrell added.
Harrell said that in the past officers have occasionally responded to calls about parties with five or six people at such locations, but parties of this magnitude are unusual.
Harrell, who has been in law enforcement for over 45 years, said the only parties of this size that he ever busted prior to this involved chicken fights.
The sheriff’s department is continuing the investigations.