|Reckless driver diverted away from downtown event faces multiple charges
By Brianna Stephens
Advocate Associate Editor
The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and Mt. Sterling Police Dept. worked together to deter a reportedly reckless driver away from the First Friday Market event Aug. 2.
Montgomery County Sheriff David Charles said there were reports of an extremely reckless driver coming through Jeffersonville that evening. When units responded, they reportedly discovered the driver on U.S. 460 in Camargo driving at a high rate of speed on the wrong side of the road, Charles said.
The suspect was later identified as Billy G. Anderson, 63, of Mt. Sterling.
When units attempted to stop Anderson, he reportedly began to flee at a high rate of speed toward Mt. Sterling, Charles said. Units also backed off of the suspect in an attempt to get him to reduce his speed, but Anderson reportedly did not slow down, the sheriff added.
Deputies notified MSPD officers who were working the security detail of the First Friday Market event downtown about the vehicle, which was inbound towards the event, he added.
Security plans were enacted in an attempt to divert Anderson at Apperson Heights and Route 11, Charles said.
Anderson would not divert away from the downtown area and reportedly drove onto a sidewalk and almost struck a police officer, who had to dive out of the way of his vehicle, the sheriff said.
Officers set up another blockade on Main Street that Anderson reportedly struck, Charles said. He was diverted outbound on West Main Street and reportedly struck three vehicles and a utility pole before coming to rest at the intersection of Ronameki Drive and West Main Street where he was taken into custody.
One person who was in a vehicle Anderson reportedly struck was taken to St. Joseph Mt. Sterling with injuries, Charles said.
Anderson was also transported to St. Joseph Mt. Sterling with minor injuries and for a blood test, he added. He was later lodged in the Montgomery County Regional Jail.
Anderson is charged with wanton endangerment, first (four counts), wanton endangerment of a police officer, operating a motor vehicle under the influence, and fleeing and evading, first. Additional charges are expected, authorities said.
Anderson is also a registered sex offender, according to the Kentucky State Police sex offender registry. Listed offenses include one count of rape, third degree, and one count of sodomy, third degree, in Pike County.
The victim was reportedly 14 years old, information from the registry states.
Without the efforts and plans in place of both the sheriff’s office and police dept., the night could have ended differently, Charles said.
Charles called the suspect’s reported actions prior to seeing law enforcement “extremely reckless and wanton, showing a disregard to other lives.”
He added, “(The suspect) was inbound and was not going to be deterred. If this vehicle had entered the crowd, the potential for loss would have been great. Thankfully MSPD and MCSO have protocols in place for these events in case of these situations.”
Those safety plans will be reevaluated and increased to ensure the continued safety of events in the future, he added.
“This is just another example of agencies working together for the common good,” Charles said.
The community showed its praise and support for both agencies on social media following the incident.
“What an amazing response and a quickly coordinated team effort to keep our citizens as safe as possible in what could’ve turned out to be a very tragic event,” County Commissioner Melody Townsend wrote. “I am thankful to hear the officers are safe and were able to get this man into custody. I’m sorry to hear about the cars he hit and hope the people in those are OK. Great job MCSO and MSPD!”
“Our first responders did an amazing job of keeping everyone safe and handling the situation! Thank you,” Cay Lane, former executive director of the Montgomery County Council for the Arts, said.
John/Tammi Cox wrote, “Great job protecting all of our community last night at such a wonderful event. May God bless all of our first responders.”
Anna Carol Murphy said, “Great job to both dept.’s.”