By Nita Johnson
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
A victim became an activist and assisted police in getting a drunk driver off Laurel County roadways Tuesday night.
Why 59-year-old Bobby R. Morgan didn’t stop after he hit another car is not known, although law enforcement officials suspect that being under the influence of intoxicants could have been a factor.
At any rate, he was stopped and arrested nearly 20 miles away from the accident after the victim in the crash on east U.S. 25 followed the gray Ford pickup truck to Ky. 192 while the victim contacted police.
The crash occurred around 7 p.m. Tuesday night, but the driver of the pickup — later identified as Morgan — failed to stop. The victim of the crash, 32-year-old Shawn Demaray of Gray, followed Morgan’s vehicle for more than 10 miles along the backroads between U.S. 25 and Ky. 192.
According to Laurel County Sheriff’s Deputy and Public Affairs Officer Gilbert Acciardo, Demaray followed the gray pickup and called 9-1-1 to give police directions to find the vehicle.
When Deputy Steve Hoskins was sent out on the call, he located a truck fitting the description of the hit-and-run vehicle traveling along West Laurel Road, six miles west of London. The press release from the sheriff’s office states that Hoskins noticed the truck weaving along the roadway, even crossing the centerline several times.
When Hoskins engaged his blue lights to initiate a traffic stop, the vehicle stopped in the middle of the roadway. After talking to the driver, Hoskins determined he was driving under the influence of intoxicants. An open container of alcohol was inside his vehicle.
Morgan was arrested, charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol/drugs/etc., driving on a DUI-suspended license, possession of an open alcoholic beverage container in a motor vehicle, and leaving the scene of an accident. He was lodged in the Laurel County Detention Center following his arrest.
Just how intoxicated Morgan was or why he failed to stop after hitting Demaray’s BMW on U.S. 25 remains a mystery.
“We will have to wait on the toxicology results to see the degree that he was under the influence,” Acciardo said.
Morgan was arraigned in Laurel District Court on Wednesday and pled guilty to the alcohol-related charges. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail, to serve four days with credit for time already served before his hearing, with that 30-day sentence suspended on the condition that he have no further violations within 24 months. The 90-day sentence for driving on a DUI-suspended license was also conditionally discharged on the condition of no further violations after serving four days, to run at the same time as the other four-day sentence. The charge of leaving the scene of an accident netted Morgan with another four days in jail, to run at the same time as the other two sentences, with the 360-day sentence conditionally discharged for 24 months with no further violations. He was also ordered to pay $164 in court costs, a $200 fine and a $375 state-mandated DUI fine, $100 for the driving on a suspended license, and to make restitution to Demaray for damages to his vehicle.