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Special prosecutor to decide whether judge will be charged in alleged hit and run case


By Tom Marshall
Senior Advocate writer

A special prosecutor will decide whether criminal charges are filed against Montgomery County District Judge William “Willie” Roberts in connection with an alleged hit and run traffic accident March 10 in Morehead.

Morehead police are seeking to charge Roberts—whose district includes Montgomery, Bath, Menifee and Rowan counties—with leaving the scene of and accident-failure to render aid or assistance, a class A misdemeanor, dept. spokesman Capt. Kyle Callahan told the Advocate.
Callahan said potential charges stem from an incident that occurred at an off ramp at mile marker 137 in Morehead March 10.

An officer was called to the location at 4:28 p.m. concerning a two-vehicle collision in which one of those involved left the scene, he said.
The person left at the scene reportedly told police that their vehicle was rear-ended by a Toyota passenger car. Roberts checked on the driver and a child passenger, police were told, but then reportedly fled westbound on I-64 toward Lexington when he learned that police had been called, Callahan said.

The driver at the scene took down the license plate of the driver of the Toyota, which reportedly came back registered to Roberts, Callahan said. Roberts, according to media reports, was identifed via photograph.
An officer went to speak with Roberts later on and Roberts reportedly confirmed that he had been involved in an accident, Callahan said. It is not immediately known, however, why Roberts reportedly drove away from the scene.

Roberts reportedly failed to exchange insurance information before he left the scene, Callahan said.

The child in the other driver’s vehicle was taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure, but was uninjured, Callahan said. The driver was also uninjured.

Callahan told one media outlet sobriety tests were not done as it had surpassed the two-hour window that state law permits.

“Anything that we would have gotten from either one of them would not have been admissible in court,” he said.

Morehead police presented the case to Rowan County Attorney Cecil Watkins, who said he requested a special prosecutor from the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office March 20.

Watkins’s office prosecutes cases in front of Roberts, which constitutes a conflict.

The AG’s office responded by appointing Clark County Attorney Brian Thomas as special prosecutor.

Roberts did not return a telephone message from the Advocate seeking comment.

Roberts’ attorney, Grover Carrington, did issue a statement.

“Several weeks ago, Judge Roberts was involved in a minor rear-end accident on the off ramp of I-64. He stopped to see if anyone was injured and spoke with the driver of the other vehicle. He reported this accident to his insurance company and has reached out to the other driver to pay for any damage to her vehicle,” the statement claims.