A Kentucky State Police trooper was injured and an Isom man was shot and killed during a high-speed chase near the Letcher-Perry county line Tuesday evening.
Christopher L. Brown, 32, of Scrapshin Branch, Isom, was pronounced dead at the scene on Montgomery Creek. His last known address was in Hindman, but he did not appear to have a permanent address.
Trooper Donnie Bruce Kelly was admitted to the Hazard ARH Hospital emergency room with multiple injuries after being hit by Brown’s car. He was expected to be released from the hospital later last night.
The incident was apparently related to an earlier incident in Letcher County in which Kentucky State Police, Letcher County Sheriff
’s Deputies and Whitesburg City Police attempted to serve warrants on several subjects on Kingscreek. Passersby said officers were behind their cars with AR-15s in front of a house near the intersection with KY 931 South. No arrest was made at that time, Trooper Jody Sims said, and subjects ran into the woods.
Sims said Brown’s name had come up several times in investigations and complaints over the past couple of months, and troopers were attempting to serve warrants on him and possibly others.
Troopers had been searching for Brown when they received information that he was driving a stolen vehicle and was in Hazard. Police found Brown at the Daniel Boone Motel in Hazard, and said he fled the scene in a Jeep Cherokee down Combs Road. The vehicle led police on a chase from Hazard toward Knott County on KY 15 at speeds up to 90 miles per hour. The Jeep turned off the highway at Georges Branch at Vicco, drove onto a strip mine with troopers behind it.
At least three troopers were involved in the chase, which ended on Montgomery Creek about threequarters of a mile from the Letcher County line.
The pursuit was ongoing near Big Branch off the right fork of Montgomery Creek when a supervisor told troopers to execute a “pit maneuver” to prevent the Jeep from getting back to a populated area. During a pit maneuver, police tap the rear corner of a vehicle with their own car and push it into a spin.
Trooper Matt Gayheart blocked the road in his cruiser as Kelly and Trooper Adam Baker, chased the Jeep toward him. Troopers got out of their cars when they thought Brown was cornered, but Sims said Brown rammed Kelly’s car with the Jeep and hit him, knocking him down.
A trooper yelled “Shots fired! Shots fired!” into his radio 6:42 p.m., and shortly after that acknowledged to dispatch that the suspect was dead.
Kelly, who is normally assigned to Letcher County, was responding to dispatchers by radio, and KSP Post 13 spokesman M. Trooper Jody Sims said Kelly was “banged up,” but okay. The trooper able to walk on his own, and was taken to the hospital by another trooper.