Hearing continued in police pursuit case

WHITLEY COUNTY – A Williamsburg man who was arrested last month after allegedly leading police in a pursuit that ended in a two-vehicle crash was set for a hearing Monday to determine whether the case would be sent on to a Whitley County grand jury, but it was instead continued to next week.

Jonathan Lawson, 32, appeared in Whitley Circuit Court for a preliminary hearing Monday, where the investigating officer and other witnesses were expected to provide testimony to the court concerning the alleged incident, though no testimony was given. According to Assistant County Attorney Aaron Howard, some of the witnesses were not able to be present for the proceedings, asking that the hearing be reset.

Lawson’s attorney, Adam Delph, said that he would not object to the hearing being continued, but wanted the court to consider a modification of Lawson’s bond if the hearing was not going to proceed. Judge Fred White sustained Howard’s request, scheduling a new hearing date for June 10, but ruled to deny any changes to bond.

Lawson was arrested May 19 after a trooper with Kentucky State Police attempted to make a traffic stop along KY 92 after allegedly witnessing a vehicle turn off of Sandy Branch Road onto KY 92 without using a turn signal and noticing that the driver, identified as Lawson, was not wearing a seatbelt. However, instead of yielding to police, Lawson allegedly sped up in an attempt to flee.

The pursuit continued, with Lawson allegedly exceeding speeds of 90 mph in a 55 mph zone, before striking a vehicle near the Siler Post Office as Lawson attempted to pass in the opposite lane. Lawson’s vehicle continued following contact with the other car, traveling through a ditch line and coming to rest on the other side of the road.

Lawson then allegedly crawled through a window of the vehicle and attempted to flee on foot before being tased by police.

When providing a statement, he allegedly told police that he fled because he had warrants for his arrest.

Lawson had three passengers at the time of the crash, all of which had to be extricated from the vehicle. Two of the passengers were airlifted to a regional hospital for further treatment. A third passenger and the driver of the vehicle that Lawson struck were taken to an area hospital for treatment.

Lawson was arrested and charged with speeding – 26 mph over limit, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicants, first-degree wanton endangerment, first-degree assault, first-degree fleeing or evading police, second-degree fleeing or evading police, reckless driving and numerous other traffic-related charges.

Lawson currently remains jailed in the Whitley County Detention Center.

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