Spencer County prisoner's attempted escape thwarted by good samaritan

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by RANDY PATRICK, The Kentucky Standard

A Good Samaritan truck driver passing near the 14-mile marker thwarted a potential prisoner escape on the westbound lane of the Blue Grass Parkway Wednesday afternoon.

The unnamed prisoner, a juvenile, was back in custody by 4:35 and no one was injured.

Clinton Blackburn, of Morehead, who was driving for Apollo Oil of Winchester, told The Kentucky Standard and PLG-TV he was going east on the parkway 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 the deputy’s neck. The truck driver then slammed on his brakes, got out and ran to help the officer.

In an interview with The Kentucky Standard and PLG-TV, Blackburn related what happened.

“I got the prisoner off of him, and when I broke the choke hold, that boy grabbed (the deputy’s) gun. His gun cleared the holster and he was pointing at the officer’s side … and I turned it into the dash so he couldn’t shoot us, and I wrestled the gun away from him. It gave the deputy time to get his senses back about him. He was about choked out,” Blackburn said.

Blackburn then held the prisoner at gunpoint until the “deputy,” actually Spencer County Jailer Darrell Herndon, recovered from the choking. He then gave the gun back to Herndon.

Blackburn said the youth was belligerent toward him, and it was a “hell of a fight,” although no one was seriously hurt.

“He was hollering he was going to kill us both, and I said, ‘Well, good luck, because I ain’t gonna let it happen,’” Blackburn said.

“Once I turned the gun on him, he started changing his mind about what he wanted to do.”

Sgt. Kaelen Matthews of the Nelson County Sheriff's Office said the prisoner was taken to the Lincoln Village Detention Center, which is where Herndon was taking him when the incident happened.

Matthews said the sliding partition between the front and back seats of the jailer’s cruiser was open.

Officers are never supposed to leave the partition open, but some do, he said.

Both Matthews and Detective Jeremy Mabe of the Kentucky State Police corroborated Blackburn’s account of what happened.

“Evidently, the prisoner disarmed the officer and pointed the gun at him,” Matthews said.

On the way to the scene, Matthews said, he and other officers learned that the trucker had gotten the prisoner back into the vehicle.

The jailer refused treatment.

“Nobody was injured,” Matthews said. “We offered to have an ambulance come down and take a look at him … but he said he was OK.”

A Nelson County dispatcher said a press release would be provided later. He would not say what the prisoner was charged with in the incident.

Deputy Sheriff Dennis Wells, the case officer, still wasn’t available for information late Wednesday night. A dispatcher for Spencer County provided the jailer's name and said the prisoner was a juvenile.

Officers from the Kentucky State Police, Nelson County Sheriff’s Office, Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Department and the Bardstown Police Department were at the scene.