Kentucky State Police shut down US 119 South this morning (Thursday) after a pursuit ended with a Whitesburg Police officer being struck by the pursued vehicle, and the driver of the vehicle being shot.
The pursuit began before 1:30 a.m. at Baxter just outside Harlan when KSP Trooper Matthew Barger answered a harassment complaint and attempted to stop the vehicle driven by Jared Ratliff, 28, of Jenkins, KSP Trooper Shane Jacobs said. Jacobs said Ratliff refused to stop and Troopers from Post 10 in Harlan chased the vehicle into Letcher County where KSP Trooper Michael Burton picked up the pursuit about 2 a.m. and chased the black Chevy Tahoe across Pine Mountain on US 119 South. Two Whitesburg Police officers set up a road block at the bridge near McDonalds, and the vehicle then struck one of the cruisers at the roadblock, and both Whitesburg officers fired their weapons at it.
The shots struck the driver and blew out one of the vehicle’s tires. Burton continued the pursuit North on US 119 through Mayking at speeds of up to 88 miles per hour. The vehicle finally came to a stop after hitting an embankment near the intersection of US 119 and KY 3406 (Bottom Fork) after the tire shredded.
Ratliff was transported by ambulance to Whitesburg ARH Hospital with at least one gunshot wound. His condition was not known, but he was transferred to Pikeville Medical Center for treatment of what KSP Trooper Matt Gayheart described as non-life-threatening wounds. Ratliff has been charged with first-degree wanton endangerment.
The police officer who was struck by the vehicle apparently was not seriously injured. The KSP Critical Incident Response Team, which investigates officer-involved shootings statewide, was called to investigate.
The road was shut down at Pert Creek while the investigation was conducted. It reopened shortly after 7 a.m.