Man charged in four-vehicle crash; Driver, three children overturn from impact

A Corbin man who caused a four-vehicle crash before leaving the scene is now facing a preliminary hearing in Laurel District Court next week.

Joshua R. Harness, 31, of Corbin was jailed after being involved in a multi-vehicle wreck that endangered the lives of seven occupants of the vehicles he struck on Saturday afternoon.

According to the police report filed by Kentucky State Police Trooper-R Steve Walker, Harness was traveling south on US 25E near South Stewart Road when three other vehicles traveling south in the left lane all stopped.

Harness' vehicle, a white 2015 Lexus, hit the right side of one vehicle then hit a second vehicle in the right rear. The impact of that crash caused the second vehicle to hit the rear of a third vehicle but also caused the vehicle to lift and then overturn onto its top. An adult driver and three children ages 4, 8 and 10 were inside the overturned vehicle, all of whom incurred minor to moderate injuries.

Walker's report states he was patrolling in the area and saw Harness talking with two other people at the crash site, but upon seeing Walker's KSP vehicle, he allegedly re-started his vehicle and fled the scene. But three by-standers chased after Harness, which also sent Walker in pursuit until he saw Harness pull into a driveway and exit the vehicle.

That exit, however, was "staggering," according to Walker's report, and went into the residence's garage, where he did turn and stop when Walker called out to him. Harness's speech, the report states, was very slurred and his eyes were glassy.

That is the only time that Harness reportedly complied with Walker's instructions, however, as he allegedly refused to put his hands on his vehicle. Walker grabbed Harness by the shirt, pushing him against the front of the Lexus - only for Harness to push away. Walker then ordered Harness to get on the ground and roll over - another command that Harness declined to follow.

But for the second time in that situation, by-standers assisted, asking Walker if he needed assistance and helping him handcuff Harness once Walker had him on the ground. And yet again, Harness allegedly refused to cooperate, having to be placed inside the police cruiser.

Walker's report also states that Harness was under the influence of intoxicants and due to his uncooperative behavior, Walker did not perform any sobriety tests during the arrest process. At that time, Trooper Logan Howell arrived and transported Harness to the hospital where Harness allegedly submitted to a blood test.

Due to the seriousness of the crash in which a driver and three children were injured, Harness is facing charges of operating a motor vehicle under the influence, first offense; leaving the scene of an accident/failure to render aid or assistance; failure to produce insurance card; resisting arrest and first-degree wanton endangerment. He is held under $10,000 cash bond in the Laurel County Correctional Center with another court date set for June 25.

njohnson@sentinel-echo.com

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