A nearly 15-mile high-speed pursuit early Thursday morning that involved four law enforcement agencies ended with a crash and the arrest of a Corbin man.
Whitley County Sheriff’s Deputy Chad Estep charged Bret A. Hatfield, 40, with nine counts of first-degree wanton endangerment of a police officer, reckless driving, first-degree fleeing or evading police, speeding 10 mph over limit, operating on a suspended/revoked operator’s license, and 10 other mostly traffic related offenses, according to court documents.
According to one of Hatfield’s four arrest citations, the pursuit started when Estep observed Hatfield run a stop sign.
About 1:30 a.m. Deputy Chad Estep attempted to stop a 1996 green Ford mustang for multiple infractions, but after he activated his emergency lights and siren, the vehicle attempted to flee on Highway 26 in Corbin, according to a sheriff’s department release.
During the pursuit, the driver of the vehicle crossed the centerline nearly striking Foley and his cruiser. The pursuit went through both Knox and Whitley counties, and into the Corbin city limits, the release stated.
“At one point the suspect entered the westbound lane on 25E before the pursuit ended in a crash,” according to the release.
According arrest citations, the chase ended about 1:53 a.m. on Norvell Road in Corbin, and Hatfield admitted to shooting meth and tossing the spoon and needle out the window of the vehicle.
Another arrest citation noted that he allegedly drove into oncoming traffic on 25E, swerved in the direction of a police cruiser joining the pursuit, and drove over 90 mph while in the Corbin city limits.
A Knox County cruiser was damaged in the pursuit, according to another citation.
Hatfield was arrested at the scene, and lodged in the Whitley County Detention Center.
Hatfield pleaded not guilty to the charges during his arraignment Thursday afternoon in Whitley District Court.
Judge Fred White appointed the public advocate’s office to represent Hatfield, scheduled an April 30 preliminary hearing in his case, and set a $10,000 cash bond.
Other officers or agencies taking part in the pursuit, included: Whitley County Sheriff’s Deputy Dennis Foley, Court Security Officer Clay Shelton, Kentucky State Police Trooper Brandon Creekmore, Constable Ron “Bubba” Bowling, Knox County Sheriff’s Deputy Mikey Ashurst, and multiple officers from the Corbin Police Department.
“The Whitley County Sheriff’s department would like to thank all agencies that assisted in bringing the pursuit to a safe conclusion,” Sheriff Todd Shelley stated in the release.