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A teen charged with the July 31, 2019, abuse and death of a stray dog was taken into custody after a positive alcohol test following a February 16 crash. Noah Blevins of London, 19, was ordered into custody at the Laurel County Detention Center during a hearing at the Laurel County Circuit Court Monday.

According to the Laurel County Sheriff's Office, the accident took place around 2:23 a.m., six miles south of London along KY 229. A 2016 Chevrolet Silverado was traveling north along the roadway when it entered a curve at a high rate of speed, then left the roadway and hit a tree.

The driver of the vehicle, Blevins, and a passenger, David Griffith II -- both 18 at the time of the accident -- were taken to Saint Joseph London for treatment of injuries by Ambulance Inc. of Laurel County. A then-16-year-old female passenger was airlifted from the scene and taken to the University of Kentucky Medical Center for treatment of severe injuries.

Deputy Tommy Houston smelled alcohol on both men. Drug and alcohol screenings were conducted, but the results of that test could not be returned at the time of the incident. The tests have since returned positive.

Griffith and Blevins are two of the four teens charged with the July 31, 2019, abuse and death of a stray dog. The situation came to light after a Snapchat post was re-posted on Facebook of a person slapping a dog in the head. That dog was later found on an East Bernstadt farm, nearly beaten to death. The property owner attempted to take the animal for emergency treatment, but the dog died en route to a veterinarian.

Toby Glen Harrison, 20, of East Bernstadt, Blevins, Griffith and a juvenile male were all charged in the incident. Blevins, Harrison and the juvenile were charged with the animal's abuse, with Blevins and Harrison being indicted in October on charges of torture of a dog, second-degree cruelty to animals and third-degree unlawful transaction with a minor. A jury trial was set for May 13, but postponed due to COVID-19.

Blevins and Harrison had appeared in court on March 9 for a final pretrial hearing, but attorneys David Hoskins and Conrad Cessna, representing Harrison and Blevins respectively, requested that the trial set for March 18 be delayed with a motion referring to a Sentinel-Echo article detailing the February 16 crash. The attorneys said the article about Blevins and Griffith could prejudice a jury panel and asked that the trial be postponed.

Griffith settled his case at the district court level on February 19 - just three days following the crash that injured the female. He was charged with unlawful transaction with a minor and obstructing governmental operations from the dog abuse incident.

Griffith originally told investigating officers that he had only given two of the males involved in the animal cruelty a ride home that day. Further investigation indicated that Griffith had also provided alcoholic beverages to underage teens.

He pled guilty to obstructing governmental operations by lying to police, with the remaining charges dismissed as part of the plea agreement. Griffith was sentenced to 90 days in jail, which was conditionally discharged.

Blevins remains in custody at the Laurel County Detention Center with a bond listed as pending as of press time Tuesday. His pre-trial conference is scheduled for July 17 at 9 a.m.

Nita Johnson contributed to this story.

dcombs@sentinel-echo.com

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