Crash ends bizarre stolen truck saga

Who knew that something so innocent could turn into something out of a movie?

Given the recent bitterly-cold temperatures, many people are guilty of starting their vehicle to warm up, leaving it idle with the keys still inside.

Michelle and Brandon Farmer can testify that in today’s world, this isn’t something a person should do.

Michelle went to Brandon’s place of work, Farmer’s Market on Artemus Road on Tuesday, December 19. Michelle left her truck, a Ford F-250, running while she ran inside to get Brandon. The running truck soon became part a bizarre story involving sheriff’s offices in two counties.

According to Knox County Sheriff’s Deputy Sam Mullins, the Knox County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call of a male subject found in a ditch on U.S. 25E in the southbound lane. Knox EMS personnel took the man, identified as Tony Roark, 32 of Hinkle, to Barbourville ARH Hospital for treatment. While at the hospital, Roark became combative and left the hospital, and allegedly walked to Farmer’s Market on Artemus Road, just a short distance from the hospital. Roark allegedly took the truck belonging to Farmer and drove away. Several callers reported a truck traveling north on U.S. 25E toward Corbin. Roark reportedly spun out in the median near Crossroads Market at Gray, and continued toward Corbin where he ran another driver off the road. No contact was made with the other vehicle.

Deputies Sam Mullins and Josh Lawson responded and followed Roark up U.S. 25 toward London, where he crashed the stolen truck. Once Mullins and Lawson got to the scene of the crash, deputies with Laurel County Sheriff’s Office had already responded.

Laurel Sheriff’s Deputy Jake Miller, Deputy Rick Cloyd and CSO Brent France responded to the crash, approximately six miles south of London. According to reports, Roark crashed the truck causing it to overturn multiple times and striking another vehicle.

After crashing the truck, Roark then fled the scene of the crash. He was attempting to jump in front of traffic on U.S. 25E when deputies located him. He gave authorities a false name and became very disorderly, shouting and cursing during the investigation.

Roark was charged by the Laurel County Sheriff’s Office with operating a motor vehicle under the influence first offense, leaving the scene of an accident, failure to render aid, second degree disorderly conduct, giving officer false identifying information, and reckless driving among other driving violations.

Roark also faces charges in Knox County. Deputy Sam Mullins said that he charged Roark with theft of a motor vehicle, reckless driving, and leaving the scene of an accident-failure to render aid.

Roark was arrested and lodged in the Laurel County Detention Center, where he remains on a $1,000 cash bond.

It was incorrectly reported previously that Farmer’s truck was stolen from the hospital parking lot in Pineville.