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The man facing charges for attempting to take Spencer County Jailer Darrell Herndon’s life and the life of a good samaritan has been indicted in Nelson County Circuit court and will be arraigned Thursday.
James W. Gillespie, 18, of Mount Eden, was indicted on two counts of attempted murder, third-degree assault, two counts of first-degree wanton endangerment, disarming a police officer, first-degree escape, theft by unlawful taking-firearm, two counts of third-degree terroristic threatening and two counts of menacing.
Herndon found himself in a frightening situation March 12 when transporting a 17-year-old juvenile male to the Lincoln Village Detention Center. While traveling on the Bluegrass Parkway, the juvenile subdued Herndon and got his weapon in an attempt to escape, authorities said. A truck driver, Clinton Blackburn of Morehead, happened to see the incident take place and came to Herndon’s aid.
According to information printed in The Kentucky Standard, Blackburn was traveling east on the parkway at about 4:15 p.m. when he observed the Spencer County prisoner transport vehicle pulled off onto the side of the road. The driver’s door of the cruiser was open, and he saw that a prisoner had his arm around Herndon’s neck. The truck driver then slammed on his brakes, got out and ran to help the officer.
According to a news release from the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office, the juvenile was “able to slip from his restraints and get through the safety screen” and started choking the deputy jailer from behind. The juvenile tried to fire the jailer’s gun several times, but couldn’t discharge it because he was unfamiliar with it, according to the release.
Herndon has declined to comment on the particulars of the case, saying that he did not want to interfere with the investigation. He has, however, noted how thankful he was for Blackburn’s intervention and for the outcome of the situation.
“I was just thankful I was able to get the car stopped,” Herndon told The Spencer Magnet. “I don’t know how I did it. God was with me.”
Gillespie will be arraigned in Nelson Circuit Court on Thursday at 1 p.m.