Pound officer intercepts wrong-way driver
The town of Pound, Virginia remains the subject of conversation for many in neighboring Letcher County, but this time one of its officials is being praised instead of criticized.
As many Letcher County residents continued to be angered by Pound Mayor George Dean’s recent statement — for which he has since apologized — that a new police car would be paid for with fine money generated through traffic citations written to speeding Kentucky drivers, others were singing the praises of a Pound police officer whose actions may have saved the life of a Jenkins woman and possibly others.
Pound Police 1st Sgt. Dustin Folk was praised for actions he took early May 2 after he intercepted a Jenkins woman who had reportedly been driving in the wrong lanes of the four-lane highway U.S. 23 while under the influence of alcohol.
According to a report in the Kingport Times-News, Sgt. Folk was patrolling at 1:41 a.m. last Tuesday when he received a report of a reckless driver traveling south on U.S. 23 in the northbound passing lane. The paper said that Folk was traveling north when he saw the vehicle, a Jeep, headed toward his cruiser through a traffic signal intersection going the wrong way.
“ The officer turned around and traveled south in the southbound lanes with lights and sirens engaged and observed two coal trucks traveling north parallel to each other with the Jeep headed straight for them,” says the Times-News account. “Folk observed all vehicles attempting to slow down. The Jeep then traveled to its right, the lip of the median, to avoid a head-on collision. Folk turned back into the northbound lanes at the Marathon crossover toward the oncoming vehicle, then approaching his cruiser at approximately 25 mph.”
Continued the report: “Folk put his cruiser between the Jeep and northbound traffic behind him to prevent multiple fatalies and/or serious injuries. Folk was able to get the driver of the Jeep to stop and finally pull over into the Marathon crossover.
“The officer identified the driver as Rosemary Nicole Newman, 21, Jenkins, Ky., and after implementing standardized field sobriety tests, subsequently arrested Newman for driving under the influence. Baker said it was determined Newman had a blood alcohol content of more than .15, or nearly double the legal limit.”
Pound Police Chief Tony R. Baker told the Times- News that Folk “was able to safely (intervene) during a high-stress situation using critical decision making skills preventing the loss of multiple lives and/or serious injuries from occurring.”
Newman was transported to the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail in Duffield and later released on bail, the paper reported. Isom, Shequenna Gwen Bates of Isom, Shannon Brooke Bays of Eolia, Barbara Elizabeth Begley of Whitesburg, Frances Eugenia Blair of Jeremiah, Raymond Allen Blair of Jeremiah, Codey Wayne Breeding of Isom, Lisa Dawn Breeding of Isom, Chasity Ann Brock of Whitesburg, James J. Buttrey of Isom, Ashley Nicole Collins of Isom, Paul Randall Collins Jr. of Whitesburg,
Joshua Eric Davis of Jackhorn, Duane Dollarhide of Jenkins, Logan Daniel Dollarhide of Whitesburg, James Elliott
Hazard Community and Technical College held commencement exercises May 6 at Perry County Central High School. A total of 629 students received 1,529 credentials. Associate in arts, associate in fine arts, associate in science, and associate in applied science degrees were awarded along with diplomas and certificates.
The graduates from Letcher County are:
Shashawn Luke Adams of Jeremiah, Justin Dewayne Akemon of Whitesburg, James Allen of Whitesburg, Cillesha Ann Ashworth of of Isom, Colten Nathaniel Fields of Neon, Meloney A. Gilley of Roxana, Nancy Marie Hatton of Whitesburg, Norman Clark Hensley of Cornettsville, William Eugene Hughes of Jeremiah, Jennifer Lynn Ihla of Mayking, Hayley Nicole Polly of Whitesburg, Racheal Francis Runyon of Whitesburg, Richard E. Shepherd of Linefork, Phillip Smith of Jeremiah, Donald Edward Swisher of Whitesburg, Tara Alicia Taylor of Burdine, Jordan Isaiah Scott Whitaker of Whitesburg, and Billy D. Young of Neon.