TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Local News

October 29, 2013

Woman indicted for police chase

Received eight-count indictment in Knox County Circuit Court for Aug. 31 charges

CORBIN — By John L. Ross / Staff Writer

A Frakes woman who reportedly led police on a high-speed chase in September has now been indicted.

Ivory Athena Melas, 28, received an eight-count indictment Friday in Knox County Circuit Court for charges incurred Aug. 31 — the day she was arrested.

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

It all began with a shoplifting complaint, according to Owens, which was called in by Walmart employees.

Owens said 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 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 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 his first offense of driving a motor vehicle while license is suspended or revoked.

Melas remains jailed in the Harlan County Detention Center as a Knox County prisoner, according to JailTracker records.

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

Others indicted Friday in Knox County Circuit Court and their charges include:

— Ronald Rhodes, AKA Ronnie Rhodes, 35, of Covington, received a two-count indictment Friday for charges incurred Sept. 11. The first count indicts him for theft by unlawful taking property valued at more than $500 but less than $10,000 after he allegedly knowingly and unlawfully took a 1998 Nissan Sentra belonging to a female victim. The second count indicts him for first-degree persistent felony offender after several previous convictions. His first conviction came in Knox Circuit Court in October 1996 when he was sentenced to three years, probated for two years, for receiving stolen property valued at more than $300. The second conviction was also in Knox Circuit Court when he was sentenced to two years for second-degree escape in February 1997. The next conviction was also in Knox Circuit Court, where he was sentenced to two and a half years for theft by unlawful taking a vehicle in September 1998. His next conviction came in Boone Circuit Court in September 2004, where he was sentenced to two years for first-degree possession of a controlled substance, first offense. The latest listed felony conviction came in Campbell County in January 2008, when he was sentenced to three years, probated for three years, for two counts of theft by unlawful taking property valued at more than $300.

— Jerry D. Hobbs, Jr., 31, and Gary Sprinkles, 24, both of Scalf, were each named on a two-count indictment Friday for charges incurred Aug. 12. The first count indicts them for theft by unlawful taking property valued at more than $500 but less than $10,000 after allegedly taking jewelry belonging to a male and female victim. The second count indicts the pair for third-degree criminal mischief after allegedly damaging a necklace owned by the same set of victims.

— Nathan Cunningham, 20, of Rockholds, was named on a three-count indictment Friday for charges incurred Jan. 5, 2012. The first count indicts him for receiving stolen property valued at more than $500 but less than $10,000 after allegedly knowingly and unlawfully possessed a 1996 Dodge Avenger reported stolen from a victim. The second count indicts him for first-degree criminal mischief after allegedly damaging the Dodge, causing more than $1,000 in damage. The third count indicts him for theft by deception of the value of less than $500 by allegedly taking the Dodge and selling it as scrap for less than $500 to Grace Way Metal without the authority to do so.

— Joe Daniel Stacy, 42, of Hinkle, was indicted for first-degree assault after allegedly striking a female victim with his fists and a mattock tool, causing serious physical injury on Sept. 2. He remains jailed in the Knox County Detention Center under a $20,000 cash bond.

— Frank A. Smith, 49, of Girdler, was named on a 12-count indictment Friday. The first count indicts him for theft by deception of property valued at more than $10,000 after he allegedly knowingly took cash owned by the Cumberland Valley RECC, Walmart and Spur Oil in return for a forged United States Treasury check from January 2012 through June 2013. The next 10 counts indict Smith with separate charges of first-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument. The second count alleges on Jan. 3, 2012, he knowingly uttered and/or possessed a forged U.S. Treasury check in the amount of $446. The third count alleges on July 8, 2012, he knowingly uttered and/or possessed another forged U.S. Treasury check in the amount of $446. The fourth count alleges on July 12, 2012, he knowingly uttered and/or possessed a forged U.S. Treasury check in the amount of $625.60. The fifth count alleges on Sept. 14, 2012, he knowingly uttered and/or possessed a forged U.S. Treasury check in the amount of $625.60. The sixth count alleges on Jan. 7, he knowingly uttered and/or possessed a forged U.S. Treasury check in the amount of $450. The seventh count alleges on Jan. 15, he knowingly uttered and/or possessed a forged U.S. Treasury check in the amount of $625.60. The eighth count alleges on May 7, he knowingly uttered and/or possessed a forged U.S. Treasury check in the amount of $450. The ninth count alleges on May 15, he knowingly uttered and/or possessed a forged U.S. Treasury check in the amount of $625.60. Count 10 alleges on June 3, he knowingly uttered and/or possessed a forged U.S. Treasury check in the amount of $450. Count 11 alleges on June 14, he knowingly uttered and/or possessed a forged U.S. Treasury check in the amount of $625.60. Count 12 indicts Smith for being a first-degree persistent felony offender after two previous convictions in Knox Circuit Court. The first conviction was in December 1993 when he was sentenced to one year probated for three years for trafficking in a controlled substance. The latest listed conviction was in December 2012, when he was sentenced to one year probated for one year for receiving a stolen firearm.

— Ryan Alexander J. Taylor, 18, of Gray, and Denver Stacy Baker, 35, of Corbin, were both named on a three-count indictment Friday for charges incurred July 3. The first count indicts both men for third-degree burglary after allegedly entering a barn owned by a male victim with the intent to commit a crime. The second count indicts the pair for theft by unlawful taking property valued at more than $500 but less than $10,000 after allegedly knowingly taking tools belonging to that same male victim. The third count indicts Baker for being a first-degree persistent felony offender after three previous convictions in Knox Circuit Court. His first two convictions came in September 1998 when he was sentenced to five years probated for five years for theft by unlawful taking property valued at more than $300, and sentenced to one year probated for five years for another charge of theft by unlawful taking property valued at $300 or more. The latest conviction came in December 2005 when he was sentenced to four years for identity theft. Both defendants remain jailed in the Knox County Detention Center under $10,000 cash bonds each.

— Shona Strong, AKA Shonna Strong, Shonna Asher, 43, of Barbourville, was named on a three-count indictment Friday for charges incurred July 31. The first count indicts her for her first offense of manufacturing methamphetamine after allegedly having in her possession chemicals and/or equipment used to make meth. The second count indicts her for tampering with physical evidence after she allegedly mutilated, concealed, removed or altered physical evidence which could have been used against her in a court proceeding. The third count indicts her for possession of marijuana.

— Denver Stacy Baker, 35, of Corbin, Juanita Baker, AKA Juanita Miller, 65, of the same Corbin address as Baker, and Joseph B. Elliott, 21, of Gray, were all named on a three-count indictment Friday for charges incurred July 24. Baker was already named on another indictment Friday. The first count of this indictment charges the three with receiving stolen property valued at more than $500 but less than $10,000 after they allegedly knowingly received and possessed a Suzuki RM 80 dirt bike reported stolen by a male victim. The second count indicts the trio for theft by deception of property valued at less than $500 after allegedly knowingly and unlawfully selling that same dirt bike to a female buyer, without the authority to do so. The third count was reserved exclusively for Denver Baker, who again was indicted for being a first-degree persistent felony offender. His previous three Knox Circuit Court convictions are listed in a prior indictment. Of the three, Denver Baker is the only defendant remaining in the custody of the Knox County Detention Center.

— Mark Honeycutt, 36, of Artemus, was named on a three-count indictment Friday for charges incurred Sept. 20. The first count indicts him for second-degree burglary after he allegedly unlawfully entered the residence of a male victim with the intent to commit a crime. The second count indicts him for theft by unlawful taking property valued at more than $500 but less than $10,000 after he allegedly took televisions, jewelry, coins and other items from the same male victim. The third count indicts him for third-degree criminal mischief after he allegedly knowingly and unlawfully damaged a door owned by the same victim, causing less than $500 in repairs. Honeycutt remains jailed in the Knox County Detention Center. No bond amount is listed, although he was arrested Oct. 9, according to JailTracker records.

— Amanda Bays, 28, of Woodbine, was indicted for program assistance fraud after she allegedly knowingly and unlawfully failed to report a change in factors affecting her eligibility for SNAP (food stamp) benefits, thereby fraudulently collecting $8,979 in food stamp monies from July 2010 through December 2012.

— Bessie Collett, 31, of Flat Lick, was named on a two-count indictment Friday. The first count indicts her for program assistance fraud after she allegedly knowingly and unlawfully failed to report a change in factors affecting her eligibility for SNAP (food stamp) benefits, thereby fraudulently collecting $7,048 in food stamp monies from September 2010 through September 2012. The second count indicts her for another count of program assistance fraud after she allegedly knowingly and unlawfully failed to report a change in factors affecting her eligibility for Medicaid benefits, thereby fraudulently collecting $3,080.63 in Medicaid monies from August 2010 through December 2011.

— Vernia Barton, AKA Vernia Garrison, 50, of Corbin, was named on an eight-count indictment Friday for charges incurred July 18. The first count indicts her for tampering with physical evidence after allegedly destroying, mutilating, concealing, removing or altering evidence which could have been used in an official court proceeding. The second count indicts her for first-degree promoting contraband after allegedly knowingly introducing Buprenorphine, an opioid, into the Knox County Detention Center. The third count indicts her first-degree promoting contraband after allegedly knowingly introducing Clonazepam, a seizure treatment drug, into the Knox County Detention Center. The fourth count indicts her for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicants, first offense. The fifth count indicts her for second-degree possession of a controlled substance after allegedly having in her possession a quantity of Buprenorphine. The sixth count indicts her for second-degree possession of a controlled substance after allegedly having in her possession a quantity of hydrocodone. The seventh count indicts her for failure to produce an insurance card after allegedly failing to provide Kentucky State Police Trooper Russ Maynard with the requested documentation. The eighth count indicts her for third-degree possession of a controlled substance after allegedly knowingly and unlawfully having in her possession a quantity of Clonazepam.

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