Accused shoplifter, getaway driver charged with fleeing

Two men were placed under arrest for their alleged connection to a shoplifting case at a Knox County store.

According to a Criminal Complaint report by Corbin Police Cpl. Jeff M. Hill, on December 19 at approximately 10:30 a.m., Rickie Blankenship, 32, of Corbin, was waiting outside Kroger in Knox County while Brian Phillips, 39, of Corbin, was inside attempting to shoplift $189 of Frontline Flea and Tick treatment. Phillips was caught and detained.

As Hill was walking Phillips to his cruiser, “he fled on foot and ran to Rickie Blankenship’s silver Ford F-150.” Cpl. Hill reported that he ordered both men out of the truck but they ignored him.

“I began busting windows out of the truck when Blankenship started the vehicle and slammed it in drive spinning the tires,” continued Hill in his report. Hill stated he had to push away from the vehicle to keep from being hit.

“Blankenship then recklessly sped through Kroger parking lot at a high rate of speed and never stopped to look for pedestrians or vehicles,” continues the report.

Police immediately began searching for both Blankenship and Phillips. Phillips was found walking on Moore Hill approximately 30 minutes later and placed under arrest. The Ford truck was found abandoned in a grave yard also on Moore Hill.

Blankenship was arrested six days later by Knox Sheriff’s Deputy Mikey Ashurst while he was patrolling DR Parker Lane.

Among Phillips’ charges are theft by unlawful taking or disposition (shoplifting under $500), first and second-degree fleeing or evading police on foot, second-degree wanton endangerment (police officer) and resisting arrest. Blankenship is charged with first-degree fleeing or evading police (motor vehicle), first-degree wanton endangerment (police officer) and reckless driving, among other charges.

Phillips and Blankenship were lodged in the Knox County Detention Center.