Michael Kirkland

Michael Kirkland

Michael Kirkland, who is accused of leading Laurel County sheriff’s deputies on a high-speed chase along East KY 80, pleaded not guilty to multiple charges Friday in Laurel District Court.

Kirkland, who is charged with driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs, first-degree fleeing or evading police in a motor vehicle, resisting arrest, four counts of third-degree assault on a police officer, first-degree wanton endangerment of a police officer, first-degree fleeing or evading police on foot, resisting arrest, driving on a suspended/revoked operator’s license and no insurance, appeared in before Senior Judge Robert Overstreet for arraignment.

Through his attorney, Doug Benge, Kirkland pleaded not guilty to the charges. Overstreet set the case for a pretrial hearing at 11 a.m. Tuesday at which the court will hear testimony and determine whether there is sufficient cause to send the case to a Laurel County Grand Jury.

At Benge’s request, Overstreet agreed to amend Kirkland’s bond to $10,000 surety, allowing either Kirkland’s employer or parents to sign the bond and assure that he will return for his court date.

Kirkland was arrested by Laurel County Sheriff’s Sgt. Rodney Vanzant who was working a traffic safety checkpoint on KY 80 near the Laurel/Clay County line.

As Vanzant was speaking with Kirkland at the checkpoint, Kirkland sped off in his vehicle, Vanzant said.

“While I was leaning into the above’s (Kirkland’s) vehicle attempting to obtain his information, he drove off at a high rate of speed almost dragging me with him,” Vanzant stated.

With backup from deputies Chuck Johnson and Rob Mitchell, Vanzant pursued Kirkland about four miles to Cheek Turner Road.

At that point, Kirkland and the passenger in the vehicle, Andrew Cook, 25, of Corbin, abandoned the vehicle. Cook surrendered to deputies and was charged with public intoxication by a controlled substance. Sheriff Fred Yaden said Kirkland tried to flee on foot.

“As they ran through a yard, a homeowner who heard the commotion came out and clothes-lined him (Kirkland),” Yaden said.

Joined by Deputy Richard Sapcutt, deputies tried to restrain Kirkland and take him into custody. Yaden said deputies had to use their taser on Kirkland twice before they were able to take him into custody.

“The first time they tased him, he pulled the barbs out,” Yaden said.

During the altercation, Yaden said Kirkland struck Johnson and Mitchell multiple times, including kicking Johnson in the rib cage.

“He kicked Chuck at the base of the armpit,” Yaden said. “That is a real tender area.”

Yaden said Kirkland was taken to Saint Joseph-London for medical treatment and then lodged in the Laurel County Detention Center. While at Saint Joseph, Yaden said blood and urine samples were taken from Kirkland in an effort to determine whether he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Vanzant stated Kirk-land told him, he took unspecificied precscription medication.

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