A Williamsburg man is facing multiple counts of criminal attempt to commit murder of police officers and others following a vehicle pursuit last Wednesday afternoon in the Canadatown community that involved an officer discharging his firearm.
Williamsburg Police Chief Wayne Bird said that he and other officers received information last Wednesday afternoon that some stolen property from a Tennessee burglary might be located in the Canadatown area and went to a Highway 204 residence in an attempt to locate the stolen property.
While police were there, a 1996 purple Ford Ranger pick-up truck that had no truck bed briefly pulled into the driveway. The driver apparently saw the police cars and quickly backed out onto the roadway about 5 p.m.
Deputy Chief Jason Caddell hopped in his vehicle to pursue the truck.
“Just as Jason was coming up on him, a male passenger got out and bailed from the vehicle,” Bird noted.
The truck had no license plate or taillights, so Caddell turned on his blue lights and siren in an attempt to conduct a traffic stop.
At that point a pursuit ensued that lasted 15-20 minutes and reached speeds of about 80 mph on back narrow country roads.
The driver of the truck, who was later identified as Brandon J. Stinnett, drove for about two miles down Highway 204 before turning onto Log Cabin Road.
“It is a very narrow, hill crest curvy road. The pursuit continued at speeds of 80 mph before turning right on Pleas Barnhill Road,” Bird said.
At this point, Williamsburg Police Officer Brandon Prewitt and Kentucky State Police Trooper Dewayne Foley were attempting to catch up to the pursuit, as were Bird and Williamsburg Police Detective Bobby Freeman.
Bird said police were familiar with the area and knew that Pleas Barnhill Road came out on Bray’s Chapel Road, which then circles back onto Log Cabin Road.
Prewitt and Foley attempted to stop the fleeing vehicle at the intersection of Bray’s Chapel and Log Cabin Road, while Bird and Freeman were further behind them on Log Cabin Road.
“The (Stinnett) vehicle tried to hit Dwayne Foley and continued back in our direction,” Bird said.
At this point, Prewitt radioed for Bird and Freeman, who were in the same vehicle, to watch out because the truck was coming at them at speeds of 80 mph.
Bird said he and Freeman decided to exit the vehicle for their own safety and took up positions behind Freeman’s Tahoe truck.
Bird said there was a lady about 50 yards behind Freeman’s vehicle, who had to stop her car because Freeman stopped.
“I exited the Tahoe and waived my arms screaming trying to get her to get out of the vehicle and run because I knew he wasn’t slowing down. I could hear him coming,” Bird noted.
About this time, Stinnett topped the hill.
“When he saw me and Bobby, he just accelerated. When he did, I couldn’t move fast enough to get out of the road. Neither could Bobby,” Bird said.
Bird jumped across the ditch out of the truck’s path. Freeman was still in the road.
“When he accelerated and came around, I fired three shots,” Bird said.
The first shot missed. Bird said that he doesn’t know where the second shot went but the third shot went into the driver’s side door but didn’t hit Stinnett.
At that point, Stinnett changed directions slightly, and traveled about 365 feet before striking a tree head-on and rolling over, Bird said.
The News Journal viewed part of the chase footage that was recorded on police department dashboard cameras.
The video shows police stopping their vehicle in the road, but enough room is left on the driver’s side of the vehicle for other vehicles to get around. Bird said authorities weren’t trying to block the road.
A short time later, the speeding truck is seen quickly coming over a hill and zooming by the police vehicle about the time the hood pops up. Then shots can be heard.
After Stinnett wrecked, the woman, whose car was in the road behind Freeman’s vehicle, can be heard yelling hysterically, “He wouldn’t stop!”
Bird said that there were no gunshot wound injuries connected with the pursuit.
Stinnett suffered minor injuries, and was treated and released at the hospital. Whitley County EMS transported his female passenger to Baptist Health Corbin where she was treated and released.
“She was cut up a little bit from the wreck,” Bird noted.
The male passenger, who jumped out of the vehicle as the pursuit started, was identified as Casey Adkins. Authorities haven’t decided whether to pursue second-degree fleeing or evading charges against Adkins, Bird said.
Authorities don’t think the three individuals in the truck are connected with the Tennessee theft that police were initially in Canadatown investigating, but do believe they are connected to alleged illegal drug trafficking, which police think takes place at the Highway 204 residence where they were at, Bird said.
Whitley District Judge Cathy Prewitt entered a not guilty plea for Stinnett, 24, of the Piney Grove area, during his arraignment Thursday afternoon on numerous charges, including; three counts of criminal attempt to commit murder of a police officer, two counts of criminal attempt to commit murder of two other individuals, first-degree unlawful imprisonment, first-degree possession of a controlled substance-methamphetamine and first-degree fleeing or evading police.
In addition, a not guilty plea was also entered during Thursday’s arraignment for several traffic related offenses, including: reckless driving, speeding 20 mph over limit, two counts of disregarding a stop sign, four counts of failure to use a turn signal, two counts of failure to wear seatbelts, failure to register transfer of a motor vehicle, expired registration receipt, expired registration plates, failure to produce insurance card, and failure of non-owner to maintain required auto insurance.
Prewitt appointed the public advocate’s office to represent Stinnett, and set a $100,000 cash bond.
A preliminary hearing in the case has been scheduled for Oct. 17 in Williamsburg.
Bird noted that the two attempted murder charges, which don’t involve a police officer, were regarding Stinnett’s female passenger, and the woman’s who car was in the road behind Freeman’s Tahoe truck.
The unlawful imprisonment charge stems from Stinnett’s female passenger, who told police after the crash that during the pursuit she “begged the individual to stop and let her out,” Bird said.
Bird noted that it is department policy to have an outside agency investigate whenever a Williamsburg officer discharges his firearm.
Kentucky State Police are conducting the investigation into the use of force aspect of the case, and Williamsburg police are continuing the investigation into the pursuit and related matters, including the attempted murder charges.
Bird said that Stinnett didn’t give Williamsburg police any explanation for why he fled from authorities. Stinnett has spoken to state police in regards to the use of force investigating that is underway but Bird said he doesn’t know what Stinnett told state police.