August 22, 2013

Man runs traffic checkpoint

By Nita Johnson
Staff Writer


Several deputies narrowly escaped injury during a traffic checkpoint that became a pursuit on Sunday night.

Deputies Larry Parrott, Tyler Morris, and Kevin Berry were conducting traffic checkpoints at Old Richmond Road and Old Crab Orchard Road, three miles north of London, as part of the statewide “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign that kicked off on Friday, Aug. 16.

At approximately 8:40 p.m., a black Buick Regal did not stop for the deputies at the checkpoint, and began traveling down Old Crab Orchard Road. The deputies left the checkpoint and pursued the vehicle with their blue lights engaged. The vehicle was swerving on and off the roadway. During the pursuit, the vehicle nearly struck the deputies’ cruisers.

Even when the suspect vehicle did stop, the driver refused to exit the vehicle, initiating a scuffle with the deputies who were trying to remove him from the car. The suspect — identified as 61-year-old Johnny R. Baker of Baker Tabor Road in London — then tried to drive away from the deputy again, nearly striking one of the police cruisers in the process.

Despite his fight to avoid going to jail, the deputies finally removed Baker from his vehicle, although Baker continued to fight with the officers. The deputies had called Ambulance Inc. of Laurel County to come to the scene and treat Baker for injuries sustained during the pursuit and during the scuffles, but Baker allegedly cursed everyone and refused medical attention.

Baker was placed under arrest, charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence, fleeing and evading police in a motor vehicle, resisting arrest, two counts of first-degree wanton endangerment for the police officers being the victims, no insurance and other traffic violations.

Baker was also found in possession of another person’s food stamp card and was charged with intent to defraud/scheme/artifice to obtain benefits.

He was lodged in the Laurel County Detention Center.