By Nita Johnson
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
While the focus of Christmas is usually centered on children, the holiday weekend resulted in the arrests of three persons for endangering their children and a grandfather facing charges for abuse.
In unrelated incidents, two mothers and a father were housed in the Laurel County Detention Center following incidents in which their children were placed in danger by the parents’ actions.
On Sunday night, Dec. 22, Laurel County Sheriff’s Sgt. Brett Reeves responded to a call about a one-vehicle accident on Ky. 472 (Johnson Road), three miles east of London, around 11:15 p.m. Reeves found a black Toyota Tacoma that had hit a tree head-on, and a man standing in the middle of the road with a 2-year-old child in his arms. The child had no diaper or clothing on the lower half of the body.
Bryan A. Cox, 31, of Middlesboro, told Reeves he had taken Lorcet before driving with the child.
He was arrested on charges of operating a motor vehicle under the influence, second-degree wanton endangerment, endangering the welfare of a minor, failure to use a child restraint device in a vehicle, no insurance card, and not wearing a seat belt.
Ambulance Inc. of Laurel County was called to the scene to transport the child to Saint Joseph London for examination and treatment.
The second incident took place on Monday night, Dec. 23, around 6:41 p.m. when Deputy Daniel Grigsby went to West Laurel Road, six miles west of London, after receiving a complaint involving a minor child.
Witnesses at the scene said a woman had put her 10-year-old child out of the vehicle and drove off, leaving the child behind. Witnesses said they were driving east toward London and saw the child standing in the road. Another witness said a truck had to swerve to keep from hitting the child.
Grigsby spoke with the child, who said she and her mother had been arguing when the mother stopped the car, told her to get out and drove off and left her.
The mother, 30-year-old Jeanette Oleary of Seminole Drive of Edmond, Okla., was contacted and confirmed the incident had happened as it was reported. However, Oleary said she was only gone for two minutes, but witnesses said the time frame was over five minutes.
Oleary was charged with abandonment of a minor, second-degree wanton endangerment, and endangering the welfare of a minor. She was lodged in the Laurel County Detention Center following her arrest.
Earlier that day, an incident that set off a weekend of endangerment of underage children occurred on U.S. 25, seven miles south of London, when a passerby noticed a man dragging a female by her hair across a yard.
Deputies Kevin Berry, Daniel Grigsby, Larry Parrott, Robbie Grimes and Senior Sgt. Greg Poynter answered the call, arriving at the scene around 3:30 p.m. The investigation into the event revealed that a man — 27-year-old Terry Brown of U.S. 25 South of Corbin — had been told to bring a 16-year-old female back home. Brown followed the request, forcefully dragging the female, who is reportedly pregnant with Brown’s child, across a yard.
The investigation further revealed the living conditions in the home where the female was living were deplorable — with 25 to 30 cats living inside the residence and the smell of cat urine being predominant in the home. Deputies called social services, and the 16-year-old was removed from the residence and taken to a safe living environment.
Brown was arrested for fourth-degree assault against the teenage girl, as was the girl’s mother, 59-year-old Tonya Zimmerman. Zimmerman was charged with endangering the welfare of a minor. Both were lodged in the Laurel County Detention Center after their arrests.
Another incident resulted in the arrest of 51-year-old Thomas G. Quicksall of Barbourville Road, after he allegedly spanked a child and left bruises on the child’s body.
Deputy Daniel Grigsby investigated that complaint on Sunday afternoon after the father of a 7-year-old child reported that the child’s grandfather had disciplined the child by using a stick and leaving extensive bruising. The child was taken to Saint Joseph London, where social services representatives arrived at Grigsby’s request.
Grigsby learned the child had been spanked with a paint stirring stick, leaving bruising. The spanking allegedly occurred on Saturday night or early Sunday morning while the parents were both at work and Quicksall was watching the child. Quicksall lives at the same residence as the child and the parents.
Quicksall was arrested on Sunday and was arraigned in Laurel District Court on Monday before District Judge Wendell “Skip” Hammons.
When asked if he wished to plead guilty or not, Quicksall answered, “If you mean did I spank him, yes, I paddled his butt.”
Hammons then said he would enter a guilty plea on Quicksall’s behalf and set a sentencing date of January 21. But when Quicksall learned what his penalty could be, he wavered. At that time, Hammons entered a ‘not guilty’ plea in Quicksall’s case, setting a pretrial hearing on January 21. He was allowed $2,500 bond to be posted by a third party and ordered to have no contact with the victim in the case.