TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

February 3, 2014

Frakes woman pleads guilty

Melas faced nine charges after September high-speed chase


The Times-Tribune

CORBIN — By John Ross / Staff Writer

A Frakes woman who reportedly led police on a high-speed chase in August was slated to begin her jury trial today — but instead entered into a plea agreement.

She will next appear in court for her sentencing hearing Feb. 28, according to a Knox County court official.

Ivory Athena Melas, 28, allegedly led police on a high-speed chase in September during which she crashed head-on into a deputy’s patrol car, according to Detective Steve Owens with the Barbourville Police Department.

In November, she was handed a superceding indictment, which added one more count to her eight-count indictment, which she received in October.

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

Owens said Melas reportedly 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. She appears to also face several traffic-related charges.