Whitley County, KY - The Whitley County Sheriff's Department is reporting that during the evening of Friday, October 16, 2015, Sergeant Kirk Mays was following a tip related to stolen property. Sgt. Mays was attempting to locate a woman for questioning at a Sander's Creek Road residence in the Canadatown community.
Upon arrival at the residence, the woman's car was present, but Sgt. Mays was told that she was no longer there. Deputies were granted consent to search the home to verify that the woman had left. In a back room was one open window. On a bed were several needles and baggies containing a white powdery substance. Several meth precursors (items commonly used to manufacture methamphetamine) were also present.
During the investigation, it was learned that Thomas Wayne Hersey, 41, had jumped out of the open window and fled into the woods. Since the early summer of 2015, Hersey has been wanted for arrest after running from police at his River Road residence, where meth labs were found.
Without knowing in what direction Hersey fled into the woods, deputies requested assistance from Williamsburg police K9 officers Brandon Prewitt, Elijah Hunter and their K9 partners.
Meanwhile, two persons in the home were questioned and eventually arrested. Sherry Bryant, 40, and Charles S. Cornelius, 44, both of Sanders Creek Road, were each charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, first-degree possession of a controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia. They were also charged with receiving stolen property after some items in the home were determined to have come from the burglary Sgt. Mays was initially investigating.
While in the area, a person provided deputies with a location where Hersey had very recently been spotted. From that area, Williamsburg's K9s quickly started tracking through the woods. Approximately 300 yards away from the home, the K9s caught up to Hersey. When police fixed their flashlights on him, he was holding a knife. After commands to drop the weapon, he did so and was taken into custody without incident.
Charges from the two incidents: Hersey is charged with all of the following: manufacturing methamphetamine (first and second offenses), second-degree fleeing or evading police, possession of a handgun by a convicted felon, violating probation (for a felony offense), first-degree possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, giving an officer a false name or address, and failure to appear.
During the investigation, it was admitted that meth had been made at the residence. While searching outside the residence, one deputy located a garbage bag containing numerous items used in the manufacture of meth.
Hersey, Bryant and Cornelius were arrested and lodged in the Whitley County Detention Center. Assisting in the investigation were deputies Jonas Saunders, David Rowe, James Fox and Williamsburg K9 officers Brandon Prewitt and Elijah Hunter.
Sheriff Colan Harrell would like to thank those who responded to the department's
request for information leading to Hersey's apprehension.
“It ended up being old-fashioned police work, following up on a burglary lead, that led to his arrest. On behalf of this department, I want to thank everybody who provided us with information of his potential whereabouts. We received and acted on a lot of information from the public.” said Sheriff Harrell. “And not just in this case. Several recent drug-related arrests have started with tips. We really appreciate the support.”