LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — A man who led police on a high speed chase, and allegedly caused 30 acres of property to burn when he set fire to a stolen truck will now take his chances before a Laurel grand jury.
Following his preliminary hearing Tuesday, Roger Vaughn, 55, of Old Crab Orchard Road in East Bernstadt, was ordered to appear for possible felony indictment charges next month.
Vaughn appeared before Laurel District Judge Wendell “Skip” Hammons on charges of first-degree fleeing and evading police, second-degree arson, first-degree wanton endangerment, speeding more than 26 mph over the speed limit, and driving under the influence stemming from an April 15 incident.
Laurel County Sheriff's Detective Josh Scott testified of the events leading to Vaughn's arrest, including a high speed pursuit along curvy backroads in East Bernstadt that ended with Vaughn setting fire to a truck. The fire then spread to a wooded area.
All told, approximately 30 acres of woodlands burned from his action, although Scott said that no arson investigation had been conducted. He did say that a bottle of lighter fluid had been ignited inside the truck.
Vaughn and his passenger, 46-year-old Doreen Napier, had abandoned the truck along an ATV trail in northern Laurel County. Napier was found hiding in the woods nearby while police had to bring in a K-9 Unit from the Kentucky State Police to find Vaughn.
After hearing the evidence, Hammons ruled that probable cause of a felony offense had been committed and told Vaughn to report to Laurel Circuit Court on Friday, May 16 for possible indictment.
Prior to Vaughn's hearing, Napier, the passenger in the vehicle, had also appeared before Hammons for her preliminary hearing.
Conrad Cessna, her attorney, told Hammons that she was simply a passenger in the vehicle, not an accomplice in the pursuit and arson. Her charges were dismissed without prejudice, meaning the case cannot be brought up again and her charges were cleared.