What began as a pursuit of a suspect ended with several agencies responding to the northern East Bernstadt area early Monday morning.
When all was said and done, two suspects were in custody and approximately 30 acres of land was burned after a stolen vehicle was set on fire.
Laurel County Sheriff’s Deputies Mikey Ashurst and Tyler Morris were trying to locate 55-year-old Roger Vaughn of Old Crab Orchard Road in East Bernstadt regarding a domestic assault on Sunday. Vaughn was reportedly possibly driving a stolen truck.
Deputies set up a watch point on Ky. 490, approximately 12 miles north of London, and saw the gold Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck headed southbound on the roadway around 2:30 a.m. But when they pulled out behind the vehicle, the truck began accelerating, exceeding 90 mph and breaking traffic laws in an attempt to evade the deputies.
But the sheriff’s officials continued following the pickup truck as it turned onto Patton Road, then onto Radford Road and Sam Black Road. It exited off Sam Black Road onto an ATV trail toward Callahan Falls. Deputies could not pursue the vehicle any further in their cruisers so exited their cars and engaged in a foot pursuit of the truck.
It was nearly an eighth of a mile further down the trail that the deputies saw the pickup truck parked with no one inside. What they did find inside, however, was smoke and flames coming from the cab and a Zippo lighter fluid bottle in the floorboard. The vehicle quickly became engulfed in fire, spreading rapidly to the wooded hillside and causing deputies to call in area fire departments to try and extinguish the flames.
While firefighters from East Bernstadt, Crossroads and Laurel County Volunteer Fire Departments battled the blazes that consumed 30 acres of property, deputies called in the Kentucky State Police Post 11 for a K-9 unit to help locate the suspects. KSP Trooper and K-9 Officer Eubanks arrived at the location, a female subject — identified as 46-year-old Dorene Napier, 5620 Hwy. 490, East Bernstadt — was found hiding in the woods. She was arrested and charged with first-degree fleeing or evading police on foot, second-degree arson, resisting arrest and public intoxication of controlled substances.
After an extensive search, the driver of the pickup truck — Roger Vaughn — was found in the area of Ky. 490. He was arrested and charged with first-degree fleeing or evading police in a motor vehicle, second-degree arson, operating a motor vehicle under the influence of intoxicants, speeding 26 mph or more over the speed limit, first-degree wanton endangerment, and other traffic violations.
Vaughn, who has an extensive legal history, told deputies he had been on meth for several days and that he “always runs from police.”
Assisting at the scene were Laurel County Sheriff’s Sgt. Brett Reeves, Deputy Brandon Broughton, and members of the East Bernstadt, Crossroads and Laurel County Volunteer Fire Departments and Eco-Tech with their dozer and Bobcat equipment to help stop the woods fire.
Napier remains in the Laurel County Detention Center with a court date set for Wednesday, April 16 (today) at 9 a.m. Jail records indicate no bond amount and also list charges of two counts of second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, first offenses; third-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, first offense; and probation violation for technical violation from a 2011 indictment.
Jail records indicate that Vaughn is set for a hearing in Laurel District Court on April 16 (today) at 9 a.m. No bond amounts are listed. He is additionally charged with no insurance, no registration receipt, not wearing seat belts, and disregarding a stop sign.