Three State Troopers injured in pursuit

KSP troopers injured

Three Kentucky State Troopers were injured in a pursuit in Harlan County on Friday, including one who was pinned between a guardrail and the pursuit pickup truck, according to KSP.  Troopers and bystanders worked together to free Trooper Kenny Abner from being trapped by the pursuit vehicle. KSP Sergeant Jay Perkins was injured trying to free Trooper Abner, according to State Police.  Trooper Abner was taken by ambulance to Harlan ARH by ambulance.  Sergeant Perkins and Trooper Andy Soltess, who was hit by the pursuit vehicle, were taken to Harlan ARH by car, according to investigators.  All three Troopers sustained non-life threatening injuries, according to State Police.  Investigators say it all began around 2:48 p.m. when State Police received a call from Harlan ARH Psychiatric Center stating that a woman had walked off from their facility wearing a brown shirt and blue jeans.  While Troopers were looking for the woman, another call came in at 2:53 p.m. from Cumberland Valley Engineering, reporting a white Chevrolet pickup truck had been stolen from behind their business by a woman matching the description of the woman Troopers were looking for.  Trooper Jared Boggs, Trooper Kenny Abner and Trooper Andy Soltess spotted the pickup on US 421 and tried to pull it over, according to KSP.  Investigators say the woman driving the pickup refused to stop and led Troopers on a low-speed pursuit for approximately 8-miles, according to State Police.  The pursuit ended on Black Bottom Road in the Loyall community of Harlan County, according to investigators.  As Troopers were trying to negotiate with the pickup truck’s driver, 30-year old Rhonda Johnson, of Loyall, hit the driver’s side of Trooper Boggs’ vehicle, according to investigators.  The pickup then dropped off the road, pinning Trooper Abner between the guardrail and the truck.  Trooper Soltess was also hit by the pickup, according to State Police.  Once Johnson was taken into custody, she was returned to Harlan ARH, according to KSP.  She is charged with three counts of attempted murder (Police Officer), theft of a motor vehicle, two counts of criminal mischief 1st degree, fleeing and evading police 1st degree (motor vehicle), and operating on a suspended license, according to investigators.  She was eventually lodged in the Harlan County Detention Center, according to State Police.

3/20/17

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