TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

November 25, 2013

Woman charged in high-speed chase

New count added to Melas’ indictment


TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

CORBIN — By John L. Ross / Staff Writer

A Frakes woman who reportedly led police on a high-speed chase in August received a superceding indictment in Knox County Circuit Court Friday.

Ivory Athena Melas, 28, received an eight-count indictment in October – this new indictment adds one more count.

According to Barbourville Police Detective Steve Owens, Melas led police on a chase during which she crashed into a deputy’s car head on.

Owens alleged the crash was the result of a string of events beginning with a shoplifting complaint at Walmart in Barbourville.

Owens alleges that Melas left the store on foot when police arrived, but that her vehicle was identified and the chase began when she fled onto U.S. 25E.

Owens explained that police tried to stop Melas, but she reportedly turned south and led police around several side streets — then back on the highway, where Owens said she was almost struck when she pulled into the path of a tractor trailer.

Melas then allegedly made two U-turns through the median before leaving the highway for KY 11N, where officers continued to chase her for several miles.

Owens said when Melas turned onto a dead-end driveway, she made a U-turn and struck a Knox County Sheriff’s deputy’s vehicle in her attempt to escape.

When the chase ended, Owens said officers found a small child behind the driver’s seat of the car Melas drove.

The newest count on her nine-count indictment charges her with theft by unlawful taking property valued at less than $500 when she allegedly unlawfully and knowingly took clothes and other merchandise from Walmart.

The first four counts on her indictment charge Melas for first-degree wanton endangerment.

The first count alleges she drove her vehicle at a high rate of speed while under the influence of intoxicants, creating a danger of death or serious injury to Sgt. Randy Clark.

The second count alleges she continued to drive her vehicle at a high rate of speed while under the influence of intoxicants, creating a danger of death or serious injury to Sgt. Winston Tye.

The third count alleges Melas again drove her vehicle at a high rate of speed while under the influence of intoxicants, creating a danger of death or serious injury after reportedly crashing into a cruiser driven by Deputy Chad Wagner.

The fourth count alleges she drove her vehicle at a high rate of speed while under the influence of intoxicants, creating a danger of death or serious injury to a minor passenger in her vehicle.

The fifth count indicts Melas for first-degree fleeing or evading police after allegedly knowingly failing to obey the signals of Sgt. Clark to stop the vehicle which she was driving.

The sixth count indicts her for first-degree criminal mischief after allegedly knowingly damaging a patrol cruiser driven by Deputy Wagner, causing more than $1,000 in damage.

The seventh count indicts her for her first offense of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicants. The eighth count indicts her for her first offense of driving a motor vehicle while license is suspended or revoked.

Melas had been jailed in the Harlan County Detention Center as a Knox County prisoner, according to JailTracker records. Those same records now indicate Melas in jailed in the Knox County Detention Center. She appears to also face several traffic-related charges.

An indictment is a formal charge by a grand jury – it is not a conviction or an admission of guilt.

Others indicted Friday and their charges include:

*Christopher L. Hibbard, 26, of Barbourville, was named on a two-count indictment Friday for charges incurred Oct. 30. The first count indicts him for his first offense of manufacturing methamphetamine when he allegedly knowingly and unlawfully had in his possession chemicals and/or equipment used to make meth. The second count indicts him for being a second-degree persistent felony offender after his June 2009 conviction in Bell County Circuit Court for second-degree robbery, for which he received a five-year sentence.

*Colonel Golden, 36, of Flat Lick, and Jackie Smith, 35, of Barbourville, were both named on a 17-count indictment for charges incurred Oct. 10. The first six counts indict the pair for separate charges of second-degree forgery. The first count alleges the offense occurred at Spur Oil Company when they reportedly signed the name Darla Brown to an electronic transfer slip in the amount of $525 drawn on a Forcht Bank account. The second count alleges the offense occurred at Creek Mart when they reportedly again signed Brown’s name authorizing a $46.50 deduction from that same account. The third count alleges the offense occurred at Walmart when the pair allegedly signed the same name on an electronic transfer slip authorizing a payment of $462.92 to the store. The fourth count alleges the offense happened when they reportedly again went to Walmart and signed Brown’s name on an electronic transfer slip authorizing a $465.68 payment to the store. The fifth count alleges the offense occurred at Walmart again, but this time the pair allegedly used Brown’s Discover credit card to purchase $61.67 in goods. The sixth count indicts the pair for allegedly using that same victim’s Discover card for a $99.53 payment to Shell. Counts seven through 12 indict the pair for six separate charges of theft of identity of another without consent after allegedly using Brown’s information for their own personal benefit. Count 13 indicts the pair for theft or receipt of stolen debit/credit cards by allegedly knowingly and unlawfully possessing Brown’s Forcht Bank debit card and the Discover credit card. Count 14 indicts Golden and Smith for first-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument after they allegedly possessed or uttered a government check written to Brown for $68. Count 15 indicts them for receiving stolen property valued at less than $500 after allegedly receiving and possessing the victim’s $68 government check. Count 16 indicts Golden for being a first-degree persistent felony offender after two previous felony convictions. The first conviction came in August 1997 when he received an 18-month sentence for theft by unlawful taking property valued at more than $300. The latest conviction for Golden came in March 2010, when he received four years for his first offense of first-degree possession of a controlled substance. Count 17 indicts Smith for being a first-degree persistent felony offender as well after three previous convictions. The first conviction came in April 1997 in Fayette Circuit Court when Smith received a five-year sentence probated for five years for receiving stolen property valued at more than $300. The second conviction came in December 2010 in Knox Circuit Court when a three-year sentence was handed down for second-degree burglary and theft by unlawful taking property valued at more than $500. On that same date Smith was convicted of a third felony – second degree burglary and theft by unlawful taking property valued at more than $500, which earned an eight-year sentence.