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The subject of a five-hour search on Jan. 20 was eventually located the next morning and arrested for stealing a school bus and attempting to break into a church parsonage.
The Spencer County Sheriff’s Department received a call around 8 p.m. Jan. 20, stating that Karina N. Porter, 32, of the 3500 block of Elk Creek Road, had not been seen since she left her residence earlier that afternoon without shoes or a coat, according to Sheriff Donald “Buddy” Stump.
Porter’s relatives had reported her missing and were concerned for her safety in the cold temperatures that night, Stump said.
The fact that she was allegedly outdoors without a coat or shoes prompted the search, he said.
The sheriff’s department, along with the Taylorsville-Spencer County Fire Department, Spencer County EMS, Louisville Metro Police and the Jefferson County Search Dog Association searched the Elk Creek Road area from about 8 p.m. until 1:30 a.m. Jan. 21, Stump said. Kentucky State Police also provided assistance by responding to calls while the sheriff’s department was involved in the search, Stump said.
The search dog association brought four dogs and their handlers to assist in the search and, with the fire department, scanned the area with thermal imaging devices, Stump said.
Louisville Metro assisted by using a helicopter to scan the area with a spotlight as well as thermal imaging equipment.
Spencer County EMS was on standby in the area in case Porter was located and needed medical treatment.
“We used every piece of equipment available to us,” Stump said.
Around 1:30 a.m. Jan. 21, officials decided to call off the search until 9 a.m. because they weren’t gaining any ground, Stump said.
However, around 5:30 a.m., the sheriff’s department responded to a call that someone was attempting to break into the Elk Creek Baptist Church parsonage.
Deputy Andrew Ware responded and found Porter outside the vacant residence.
“I arrived on scene to find a wrecked Spencer County bus and the above subject trying to force entry into the house located at the above location,” Ware wrote in Porter’s arrest citation.
Porter was uncooperative and would not follow Ware’s commands, according to the citation.
“The above subject had to be forced away from the house,” the citation says. “The above subject resisted being placed under arrest [and] had to be lifted by myself and EMS due to the above subject refusing to walk.”
Spencer County EMS transported Porter to Jewish Hospital Shelbyville and she was charged with first-degree criminal mischief, second-degree criminal mischief, resisting arrest and theft by unlawful taking - auto, $10,000 or more.
Porter apparently caused damage to the front door of the parsonage, the front porch light and the stair railing, the citation says.
The school bus involved in the incident also sustained some damage, according to the citation.
Apparently, Porter stole the school bus, which was parked at the bus driver’s home in the Elk Creek Road area. Stump said it appeared as though the bus had been driven to and parked in the church parking lot, but had rolled backward out of the parking lot, across Plum Ridge Road, over a slight drop off and into the church’s basketball court area.
Spencer County Schools Manager of Transportation Jack Senior said he lives near the area the search took place and saw the police cars and helicopter out on the night of Jan. 20.
He woke up the next morning to a report that one of the district’s buses had been stolen and located near Elk Creek Baptist Church.
Senior said the bus was removed from the basketball court area without a wrecker and sustained no major damage.
State law forbids school buses from being locked, Senior said, citing driver error that the bus keys were left in the ignition.
“It was driver error,” Senior said. “It was an accident, but it happens.”
Senior said sometimes after drivers make their required walk-through of their buses after they finish their routes, they forget and leave the keys in the bus.
Senior said he would make a point to address the issue at the next bus driver meeting and would reinforce the importance of removing the keys from the ignition.
Porter is scheduled to be arraigned in Spencer County District Court on Feb. 15 at 8:30 a.m.