Whitesburg KY

Grand jury indicts woman in manslaughter charge in connection with May wreck

The Letcher Grand Jury has indicted a Pike County woman on manslaughter and other charges in connection with a fatal accident at Payne Gap in May.

The grand jury charges Shelly I. Damron, 37, of 8563 Elkhorn Creek, Ashcamp, with second-degree manslaughter, second-degree assault, first-degree criminal mischief, speeding 15 miles per hour or greater, reckless driving, and operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol (first offense with aggravating circumstances)

The grand jury says Damron was speeding and operating her vehicle recklessly on U.S. 119 near Payne Gap, about three miles south of Jenkins, when she crossed into the lane of oncoming traffic and struck a pickup truck driven by Craig D. Carter of Bill Moore Branch, causing the death of Carter’s son, Joshua C. Carter, and injuring the elder Carter.

The May 16 wreck was the third fatal collision on the same stretch of road in two weeks. Damron was driving toward Whitesburg in her 2011 Ford Expedition when it crossed the centerline and hit 56-year-old Craig Carter’s 1993 Ford F-150 pickup. Joshua Carter, 32, was a talented musician who had played in rock bands.

Kentucky State Detective Brandon Thomas testified in the case.

Others indicted by the grand jury are:

• James O. “ Popeye” Fields, 45, of 211 Bald Mountain, Whitesburg, is charged in three separate indictments. In the first indictment, he is accused of second-degree assault, which caused serious injury to James Lee Fields, tampering with evidence, and being a first-degree persistent felony offender.

Kentucky State Trooper Adam Baker testified in the case.

In the second indictment, James O. Fields is charged first-degree possession of controlled substance (first offense, methamphetamine), buy/possess drug paraphernalia, resisting arrest, menacing, second-degree disorderly conduct and being a firstdegree persistent felony offender. The grand jury says James O. Fields tried to prevent Kentucky State Trooper Branden Watts from arresting him. Watts testified in the case.

In the third indictment, James O. Fields is charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Trooper Baker testified in that case.

• Nora Hatton, 23, of 2716 Hwy. 2036, Roxana, is charged with first-degree promoting contraband and being a second-degree persistent felony offender. Hatton is accused of introducing a quantity of Suboxone, a Schedule III controlled substance or narcotic, into the Letcher County Jail.

Letcher County Deputy Jailer Angela Fields testified in the case.

In a separate indictment, Hatton is charged with second degree burglary, theft by unlawful taking ($500 or more) and being a seconddegree persistent felony offender. Hatton is accused of entering the home of Freeda Tackett and taking property belonging to Tackett and her family including 12 rings, three Kindle Fire tablets, an LG Raven cell phone, two large bottles of Tide detergent, and a Night Owl security camera. The grand jury says the thefts were recorded by a security camera on video. Ms. Tackett testified in that case.

• Travis B. Toler, 32, of 74 Riverside Trailer Court, Whitesburg, is charged with three separate indictments. In each indictment he is accused of second-degree escape, intentionally going out of range of his electronic monitoring device in an attempt to escape from home incarceration.

Letcher County Sheriff ’s Deputy Mickey Stines testified in those cases.

• Latisha Craft, 38, of 64 Tom Biggs Road, McRoberts, is charged with firstdegree bail jumping and being a first-degree persistent felony offender. The grand jury says Craft failed to appear for an arraignment in connection with a charge of having committed a felony.

Deputy Clerk Sandra Wright of the Letcher Circuit Clerk’s Office testified in the case.

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