Man arrested in stolen car after pursuit

A Somerset man was arrested Thursday by the Somerset Police Department after allegedly trying to flee in a stolen vehicle, being apprehended thanks to the use of the department s Guardian One gyroplane. The pursuit ended in Lincoln County, with the gyroplane s flight crew leading officers on the ground to the suspect once the suspect had abandoned the vehicle and fled on foot.

We were able to launch our aircraft within 10 minutes of the pursuit beginning and have it on the scene in a neighboring county about 15 minutes later, Chief Doug Nelson said in a statement. The flight crew was able to search a much larger area than several officers could effectively search on the ground, which brought the situation under control quickly. Kenneth Webb Jr., 24, is facing charges of Speeding, Receiving Stolen Property Over $10,000, first-degree Fleeing or Evading Police, nine counts of first-degree Wanton Endangerment, Improper Passing, and Reckless Driving.

SPD Capt. Shannon Smith clarified the charge of Receiving Stolen Property, saying the department believes Webb himself stole the vehicle based on evidence in this case as well as previous cases in which Webb was caught with stolen vehicles.

Within a two-month span, this is the third vehicle he has been apprehended in while driving that has been stolen, said Smith.

In Kentucky, the penalty for having items of stolen property is the same as having stolen it. In this case, it is easier to prove that he received the property than to prove he was the one who stole it. According to the SPD, the situation began when officers received a report of a 2001 GMC Sierra pickup being stolen from a parking lot near the Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital. The investigation of that theft began around 8:30 a.m. Thursday. At 7:15 p.m. Thursday, the victim called 911 to report seeing the truck around Langdon Street. Officers began searching the area and found the truck traveling east on the Ky. 80 Bypass near North Main Street.

The driver of the vehicle, later identified as Webb, began driving north on Ky. 39 and sped up in an attempt to outrun officers. Webb was pursued into Crab Orchard in Lincoln County, where he drove into a wooded area behind Eastern Kentucky Recycling and fled on foot. The Pulaski County Sheriff s Office, Lincoln County Sheriff s Department and Kentucky State Police set up a perimeter to contain Webb while the SPD launched the gyroplane.

I was in town when the call went out, so when I heard the report of a pursuit, I was able to get to the airport and get the gyroplane in the air quickly, said Smith, who piloted the aircraft Thursday.

Smith added that the perimeter that was set up by the other law enforcement agencies was a large part in getting this suspect into custody. My job as a pilot was a small part. He did say that the gyroplane helped in that it quickened the search and outcome of the foot pursuit.

We were up for about an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes. In our gyroplane, that amounts to $45 to $50 in operation costs. We probably saved that amount of money in overtime for the officers. It s not feasible for a team of officers to cover the same amount of area. It got our officers freed up and got them back to responding to calls in the city. The flight crew spotted Webb a quarter of a mile away from where he had ditched the truck. A search of the truck turned up marijuana, drug paraphernalia and personal items that were identified as Webb s

No one was reported injured in the incident, though there was some body damage and broken glass reported to the vehicle.

Webb is being held in the Pulaski County Detention Center. The investigation into the incident is ongoing.

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