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ATV owners testify about stopping thieves



Owners of two diff erent all-terrain vehicles say they each caught men trying to steal their ATVs in Jeremiah on June 6.

During a preliminary hearing on June 14, Anthony Cornett Jr., of 1659 Highway 7 South, testified in Letcher District Court that he notifi ed police that he and his wife, Jama, caught Michael J. Blair, 18, of Hazard, and Andrew Eldridge, 23, of 606 Adams Branch, Jeremiah attempting to push their 2008 Honda Rubicon off of their property. Cornett said he used a Remington 870 Express 12-gauge shotgun to fire two shots into the woods as the men attempted to leave the scene. Cornett said he ran after Eldridge grabbing his shirt as he tried to jump over a fence and managed to detain Eldridge until police arrived.

According to court records, Victor Gayheart, of Blair Branch, saw Blair and Eldridge attempting to steal an ATV from Gayheart’s driveway about 15 minutes before they arrived at Cornett’s residence. Kentucky State Police Trooper Adam Hall wrote in a citation that Gayheart chased the men away, but that after Blair ran from Cornett he was chased down by Gayheart and was held at Gayheart’s residence until police arrived.

Hall arrested Blair and Eldridge about 6 a.m. on June 6 and charged both with second-degree criminal trespassing, public intoxication of a controlled substance, operating an ATV on a roadway, and operating an ATV without headgear. Eldridge was also charged with tampering with physical evidence and second-degree possession of a controlled substance.

According to court records, Cornett told police Eldridge “ate at least eight Ultram” before the officer could get to him. Hall wrote in a police citation that he found “seven oval-shaped pills, two marked with the number 93 and four marked with the number 58 and one that was partially dissolved with no number on it.”

Hall had Eldridge transported by ambulance to the Whitesburg hospital where he refused treatment.

Cornett testified during the preliminary hearing that he had first made contact with Blair and Eldridge earlier on June 6 at the Isom BP when the two tried to sell him medication.

Letcher District Judge Kevin Mullins said there was enough probable cause to bind the case over to the Letcher County Grand Jury.

Blair and Eldridge are lodged in the Letcher County Jail. Bond for Blair is set at $10,000 unsecured with home incarceration. Bond for Eldridge is set at $15,000 cash.


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