Two in custody after multi-county pursuit ends with head on collision

Published: Jan. 26, 2022 at 8:16 PM EST
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MARTIN COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) - Two people are in custody after a multi-county pursuit Wednesday evening.

According to the Johnson County Sheriff, the pursuit started just after 6:30 p.m. on Ky. 1559 in Johnson County when law enforcement attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a possible stolen vehicle.

“We had entered it as stolen from basically the same area of the county a couple weeks prior to,” said Johnson County Sheriff Doug Saylor.

Instead of pulling over, deputies say the driver, John Strong, hit the gas pedal. He continued on Route 1559 turning onto Hilltop Road and then onto US 23 through Johnson and Lawrence Counties, before turning onto Route 645 towards Inez.

“I struggle to understand, even though he had a warrant, even those these charges were possible, I struggle understanding him putting so many peoples lives in danger just to avoid being arrested,” said Saylor.

Saylor said the pursuit hit speeds of more than 85 miles per hour.

Strong drove eastbound on Route 645 into Inez where Martin County Constable Tony Preece joined the pursuit.

Saylor says Strong made a U-turn to go back west bound on Route 645 when he hit Preece’s vehicle head on.

“The vehicle that belonged to Mr. Preece has sustained substantial damage,” said Saylor.

After the collision, Strong continued driving on flat tires until deputies boxed in the car and arrested Strong.

“He was not cooperative so we had to physically detain him and it was a little bit of a struggle to get the cuffs on,” said Saylor.

According to the sheriff, Strong and the passenger in the vehicle, Rikki Spradlin were arrested and taken to the Big Sandy Detention Center.

Rikki Spradlin and John Strong were arrested Wednesday following a multi-county police chase.
Rikki Spradlin and John Strong were arrested Wednesday following a multi-county police chase.(Martin County Sheriff's Department)

Saylor says the situation could have made a turn for the worst as a loaded gun and ammunition was found in the car.

“It’s disturbing. We already realize they have made poor choices. We find a loaded firearm in the vehicle, what’s to say they don’t continue making poor choices and injure one of the deputies or one of the police officers one of the citizens that are nearby?” said Saylor.

Strong was charged with speeding, receiving stolen property, fleeing or evading police, wanton endangerment, resisting arrest, operating on a suspended or revoked license, possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine) and drug paraphernalia.

Spradlin is facing charges of public intoxication, resisting arrest, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine).

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