A man wanted for robbery and other charges in Alabama was able to escape arrest Saturday night after he tried to run over two Whitesburg City Police officers with his car.
Kenneth Ray Traywick Jr., 22, of Concord, Ala., is facing additional charges of attempting to assault a police officer and fleeing and evading arrest in connection with the incident, which occurred in the parking lot of Long John Silver’s.
Assistant City Police Chief Tyrone Fields said he was conducting a routine patrol on the Whitesburg Bypass around 8 p.m. on April 2 when he saw a blue Ford Focus being driven by Traywick pull out of a Childers Oil storage and maintenance facility and head down the bypass toward Rite Aid Pharmacy. Fields signaled the car to stop after he saw Traywick run “clear off the road onto the shoulder” while making a left turn from the bypass to continue on Highway 15 toward Hazard.
Traywick pulled his vehicle into the Long John Silver’s parking lot and told Fields he didn’t have his license with him, but did volunteer his Social Security number. He also told Fields the passenger in his car was the grandmother of children he had dropped off to a night watchman at the Childers facility.
After returning to his police cruiser and entering Traywick’s information into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database, Fields discovered Traywick is wanted in two different counties in Alabama on felony charges of robbery and breaking and entering, and for bootlegging. As Fields was gathering the information from NCIC, City Police Captain Phillip Slone arrived at the scene and both officers approached Traywick’s vehicle and asked him to step out of the car.
Fields said that as he and Slone got to Traywick’s vehicle the suspect “got really fidgety with his hands” and tried to back the car up and escape. Fields said he tried to use his TASER stun gun to stop Traywick, but the device failed to deploy its electrical current.
“Witnesses said when he backed up he almost took me out,” Fields said. “He had to swing it to get out of there.”
Fields said Traywick just missed hitting Slone after putting the car in drive and fleeing the lot.
“All I could see was Phillip (Slone) standing right in front of the car,” said Fields. “I saw it barely miss his legs. The witnesses that were standing there were positive he had been run over.”
Fields said Traywick made a cell phone call just after he was pulled over.
“He (Traywick) had already determined he was going to get out of there and he didn’t care what it took to get out of there, Fields said.
Fields said that after the TASER failed and Traywick continued to flee, he made the decision to fire his weapon to try to persuade Traywick to stop.
“We started firing shots to get him to stop,” said Fields. “There were some shots that did hit the vehicle. I don’t know if he was hit or not.”
Police last saw Traywick as he was driving toward Wendy’s restaurant. Fields said Traywick drove to the Double Kwik in West Whitesburg (formerly the Sugar Shack) and ran into the hills near Susan Cook Drive. The woman who was the only passenger in the car told police she put the vehicle into park and ran straight into the self-service station’s bathroom.
Fields said Traywick, who he said should be “considered armed and dangerous,” is also wanted in connection with breaking into cars at the Whitesburg and Hazard Appalachian Regional hospitals.
A blue Ford Focus like the one Traywick was driving was identified in surveillance footage taken at the hospital last month while a man broke out the passenger-side window of the car and took a purse. Hazard police have also linked Traywick, who had been staying in Perry County, to similar car thefts that have taken place at the Hazard ARH parking lot.
“It all points back to him,” said Fields. “He matches everything.”
Kentucky State Police are investigating the attempted assault on the Whitesburg police officers. Traywick is approximately 6 feet all, weighs 150 pounds, and has brown eyes and dark hair. Anyone with information is asked to contact state police at (606) 435-6069 or 1-800-222-5555.