Teen charged following police pursuit

Austin J. Watkins

Austin J. Watkins

A Fleming County teenager has been jailed on multiple charges following a high-speed police pursuit that began in Maysville and ended at Tollesboro.

Maysville Police Chief Ron Rice said the series of events began about 10:40 p.m. Thursday when Maysville Police Officer Garrett Ingram observed a 2013 Nissan Rogue traveling at a high rate of speed on Buckner Street in Maysville.

Rice said the operator of the vehicle disregarded stop signs and continued to travel at a high rate of speed through the city traveling east.

He said when Ingram had dispatchers check the license plate number of the vehicle he learned it had been reported stolen from Flemingsburg.

Rice said the operator of the vehicle disregarded Ingram’s emergency lights and siren while traveling through the city and nearly struck another officer’s vehicle head-on.

He said the pursuit continued east on Forest Avenue and Mason-Lewis Road/Ky. Rt. 10, crossed into Lewis County, and on to Tollesboro where Lewis County Deputy Mark Sparks had established a roadblock with his police vehicle.

Lewis County Sheriff Johnny Bivens said Sparks had established the roadblock near Ron’s IGA and the suspect vehicle turned off the roadway before reaching the roadblock. The vehicle continued through a soybean field and behind Rip’s Farm Center before coming to a stop with the driver of the vehicle then fleeing on foot.

He said officers with the Maysville Police Department, deputies with the Mason County Sheriff’s Department, Lewis County Constable Mark Riley, as well as Lewis County deputies, began to search the area in an attempt to locate the driver.

Bivens said firefighters with Tollesboro Fire and Rescue had been assisting with a medical helicopter flight at the landing zone near PrimaryPlus on the AA Highway nearby and joined in to assist with the search.

Bivens said the suspected driver was later located hiding in a brush pile behind Rip’s Farm Center and was taken into custody. He identified the suspect as Austin J. Watkins, 18, of Flemingsburg.

Watkins was arrested and lodged in the Mason County Detention Center. He was charged with speeding, disregarding a stop sign, reckless driving, first-degree fleeing or evading police (motor vehicle), first-degree wanton endangerment (police officer), no operator’s license buy/possess drug paraphernalia, and receiving stolen property ($10,000 or more).

Rice said Watkins confessed to stealing the vehicle from his grandmother, possessing it in Maysville, and driving the vehicle during the entire pursuit.

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