Darren Doyle, Edmonson Voice
Earlier today (Sunday, June 14th) around 9am, Mammoth Cave National Park Ranger Matt Skaggs attempted to stop a red Dodge Ram pickup for driving erratically through the park. Ranger Skaggs suspected the driver to be under the influence. The ranger stopped the truck at Joppa Church but that's when rangers said the driver fled at a very high rate of speed.
Park Rangers also reported that they then began a high speed chase that continued through the city limits of Brownsville where Lieutenant Jeff Jewell of Brownsville PD joined the pursuit. Police said the pickup truck then turned left onto Highway 259 and continued south on Veteran's Memorial Highway towards Chalybeate with speeds upwards of 100 MPH. Several other drivers said they were run off the road as the pickup weaved in and out of traffic on Veteran's Memorial.
Police said that the driver attempted to turn right onto KY HWY 743 (Chalybeate School Rd) but was traveling too fast to make the turn. The driver was then reported to have skidded into the Dollar Store parking lot instead, barreling through the middle of the lot, jumping the curb, and going airborne into the neighboring hay field, where the pickup stalled out and died.
Police said the driver and a passenger attempted to flee on foot but that Lt. Jewell and Ranger Skaggs quickly caught up and apprehended both subjects.
The driver of the vehicle was identified as Bryon Tipton, 36, from Lexington, and the passenger was identified as Terry Morris, 33, from Leitchfield. Morris was found to have outstanding warrants in Daviess County for manufacturing meth, possession of a firearm by convicted felon, along with seven other felony warrants and several misdemeanors.
Tipton, the driver, was charged with wanton endangerment 1st (police officer), reckless driving, DUI 1st (aggravated), refusal of DUI test, fleeing and evading 1st (motor vehicle), possession of meth, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of marijuana. Police say more charges are likely to come.
Morris, the passenger, was charged with fleeing and evading 2nd, possession of meth, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of marijuana. The National Park Service said they have more charges pending, including speeding of 90mph in a 55mph zone, possession of controlled substance (meth), possession of marijuana, operating under the influence, and refusal of chemical test. Police suspected both subjects were highly under the influence of meth and both reportedly had "meth sores" on various places.
Deputy Scott Skaggs, (KSP Ret.) was traveling north towards Brownsville on Veteran's Memorial with his family on his way to church. He said he met the vehicles in the chase as they were heading south. "I saw the pickup go into the emergency lane and passed an RV on the right shoulder of the road," he said. "When the truck came back onto the roadway, it came into oncoming traffic, nearly hitting a silver van behind me. The van had to go off on their shoulder to avoid being struck."
Emily Ellis, the driver of the silver van, said the same. "The pickup came into my lane and I had to take the emergency lane," she said. "If I hadn't moved, he would have side-swiped me. I didn't know what was going on until I saw the cops."
Both subjects were transported and lodged in the Hart County Jail. The Brownsville Police Department would like to thank the MCNP Rangers, Deputy Wally Ritter, KSP Post 3, Edmonson County Dispatch, and Edmonson County EMS.