Edmonson Voice Report:
A Kentucky man who allegedly stole a truck and drug the vehicle’s owner alongside the vehicle has been charged federally, announced U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman.
“Our National Parks are to be places of respite from the outside world; not violent crime,” said U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman. “Violate their sanctity by victimizing other visitors and be prepared to face swift federal charges and ultimately federal prison.”
Dusty G. Westmoreland, 30, of, Summershade, Kentucky, has been charged with Robbery under 18 United States Code 2111.
According to the criminal complaint, a motor vehicle accident occurred resulting in a fire at Mammoth Cave Parkway and Brownsville Road, within the boundaries of Mammoth Cave National Park. A witness to the accident stopped to see if anyone was inside the burning vehicle, according to a statement from USA Russell Coleman's office. Westmoreland allegedly entered the witness’s Ford F-150 truck and he witness opened the driver side door attempting to stop Westmoreland from stealing the vehicle. A struggle ensued, with Westmoreland allegedly striking the victim and dragging him down the side of the road, resulting in injuries to the victim.
Coleman's office also stated that a maintenance employee of the park saw the Ford truck a short time later stopped on the side of the road in the park, and Westmoreland standing beside the truck. On-duty park rangers and the Kentucky State Police took Westmoreland into custody at gunpoint.
If convicted at trial, the maximum sentence for Robbery within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States is not more than fifteen years.
A federal complaint is a written statement of the essential facts of the offense charged and must be made under oath before a United States Magistrate Judge. The charge set forth in a complaint is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Assistant United States Attorney Mark Yurchisin of the U.S. Attorney’s Bowling Green Branch Office is prosecuting the case. The case is being investigated by the National Park Service park rangers with assistance from the Kentucky State Police.