Caught!: fugitive found in Tennessee

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A Kentucky man who led law enforcement authorities on a vehicle chase; then a search on foot; and finally looking for a stolen dump truck and trailer last week; has been apprehended in Tennessee.

Switzerland County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Brian Morton, who has been heading up the investigation on this side of the river, reported on Tuesday afternoon that he had been informed by the Kentucky State Police that Billy Wayne Sangster, 48, had been caught by federal agents of the Drug Enforcement Agency Task Force at a truck stop in Knox County, Tennessee.

Morton said that at the time of Sangster’s capture and arrest, he was driving the 2006 Chevrolet dump truck and pulling a flatbed trailer that had been stolen last Wednesday from the property of Eddie Leap here in Switzerland County. Morton said that he had contacted Leap to tell him that the vehicle and trailer had been located; and arrangements would be made to get the truck and trailer back to this county.

The entire incident began last Wednesday morning, May 31st, when officers from the Kentucky State Police, the Gallatin County, Kentucky Sheriff’s Office, and the Carroll County, Kentucky Sheriff’s Office were searching for a suspect in the armed robbery of a convenient store in Ghent, Kentucky – just across the Ohio River from Vevay.

Locating the suspect, officers began a chase that came across the Markland Dam and into Switzerland County, where local law enforcement officers also began the chase.

At around 11:30 a.m., the suspect abandoned his vehicle at the intersection of State Road 56 North and Posten Road, between Vevay and Mt. Sterling. The suspect then began to flee the scene on foot, running down into the woods with officers closely behind.

“He overshot the road,” Morton said. “I think he thought, ‘they’re on my tail, I’m going to shoot down Posten Road’, but he didn’t make the turn. He also didn’t know it was a dead end road, and when he overshot it, he knew he didn’t have any chance of backing up, so he got out of the car and ran down into the woods.”

Morton said that at some point, the suspect, who had been identified as Sangster, walked up to an unsuspecting Switzerland County resident on Rader Lane and asked to use their phone. The resident allowed him to make the call; and after leaving the premises, Sangster also entered an open garage on Tardy Ford Road, where he apparently made another phone call with a phone found in that garage.

As authorities continued the search, it was reported at approximately 3 p.m. that the dump truck, pulling the flatbed trailer, had been stolen from Leap’s property.

“I was about 99-percent certain that the suspect was the one who stole Eddie’s dump truck to begin with, but I had to be careful with my wording because we had to investigate all possibilities,” Morton said. “We didn’t have any proof; but after making the information public, we have confirmation, for sure, that he’s the one who took it.”

Morton said that the investigators know that the stolen truck didn’t go across the Markland Dam, with security camera footage showing the truck and trailer going past the Circle K station at the Markland Dam; and more footage showed the vehicle going through Patriot and then Rising Sun on the afternoon of May 31st.

Even with Sangster’s arrest; Morton said that the investigation is still ongoing, and anyone having any information should contact the Sheriff’s office at (812) 427-3636.

Morton said that he expects Sangster to first be returned to Kentucky to face those charges before being brought here to Switzerland County.