Department of Fish and Wildlife
Jury Recommends 20-year Sentence For Muhlenberg Man Convicted Of Assaulting Conservation Officer
FRANKFORT, Ky. –– A Muhlenberg Circuit Court jury deliberated only 16 minutes last week before convicting a local man of assaulting a Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources conservation officer. Jurors recommended a 20-year sentence for a series of incidents that included dragging the officer with a vehicle, a high-speed chase and a head-on crash.
Jurors on Sept. 15 found Kevin D. Latham, 40, of Breman in Muhlenberg County, guilty of assault in the third degree on a police officer, and first-degree wanton endangerment –– both felonies –– and of being a persistent felony offender. The verdicts were delivered before Muhlenberg Circuit Judge Brian Wiggins. Commonwealth’s Attorney Ralph Vick prosecuted the case.
The incident began on Peabody Wildlife Management Area (WMA) May 7, 2010, as Conservation Officer Scott McIntosh was checking people for permits required for area users. Latham, sitting in his Pontiac Sunfire convertible on the Highwall Lake boat ramp on Cedar Grove Road, refused to produce an area use permit or identification when asked. He also refused to tell McIntosh his name and to step out of the vehicle.
Latham kept reaching underneath a pile of clothes for an unknown object; McIntosh kept moving Latham’s hand away from the seat. When Latham reached to start the car, McIntosh attempted to take the keys as Latham repeatedly struck his arm. McIntosh used his pepper spray, but Latham still managed to start the vehicle. Latham put the car into gear and dragged McIntosh about 15 feet before the officer could escape. Latham had gained enough advantage to elude McIntosh’s immediate pursuit.
Muhlenberg Sheriff’s Office deputies recognized and identified Latham from the vehicle description radioed by McIntosh. But it was Kentucky Fish and Wildlife’s Peabody WMA Foreman, Freddie Adkins, who noticed Latham’s vehicle at an area convenience store. Adkins radioed McIntosh, and continued to give location updates as he followed Latham after he left the store.
Latham eluded Adkins by driving through a cornfield. Once back on a road, Latham swerved too wide in a curve and slammed head-on into McIntosh’s truck. Latham’s car rolled, but it came to rest upright. Latham continued fleeing, but the chase ended when his car slammed into a tree.
Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Conservation Officer B.J. McCoy and sheriff’s deputies arrested Latham.
Formal sentencing for Latham is scheduled for Oct. 4 in Muhlenberg Circuit Court.