Man charged with attempted murder of police officer

The man who authorities report hit two police cruisers during a high-speed pursuit across Knox County early Friday morning has entered a not guilty plea.

Gary Patterson, 51, of Barbourville, was arraigned in the Knox County District Court on March 12 after a pursuit on March 9 landed him with fourteen charges, including attempted murder (police officer).

“You’ve got fourteen of them (charges) and you’ve got several felonies,” said Judge John Chappell. “Of course, the highest one will be…attempted murder of a police officer.”

At the arraignment, Patterson’s attorney, Billy Taylor, entered a not guilty plea on his behalf. Patterson’s preliminary hearing is set for March 27 at 11 a.m. His bond remains at $50,000 cash.

On March 9 at approximately 1 a.m., Knox County Deputy Mikey Ashurst received a 911 call that Patterson attempted to kick in a door at a Moore Hill Road residence and then left, traveling toward Barbourville in a white 2004 Kia.

While en route, Deputy Ashurst met the vehicle traveling 97 miles per hour on US 25E. Deputy Ashurst turned his emergency equipment on but Patterson refused to stop. After pursuing the vehicle for several miles on US 25E, Blue Gable Straight and KY 11, Patterson lost control of his vehicle while turning into Bailey Hollow Road and struck Deputy Ashurst’s cruiser. Patterson then continued on California Hollow Road.

Barbourville Police Officers Jake Knuckles and Josh Lawson were able to block the junction of California Hollow Road and Manchester Street; however, when Patterson saw the cruisers, drove over an embankment and into a corn field. BPD officers entered the corn field in pursuit. While in the field, Patterson turned his vehicle around and drove toward the BPD cruisers at a high rate of speed, striking Officer Knuckles’ vehicle.

Once Patterson exited the corn field, Deputy Ashurst pursed him to Emanuel Hollow Road where he continued on KY 6 over Payne Hill to an abandoned strip mining site. Patterson crashed through three metal gates and the vehicle pursuit ended in a pasture field where Patterson’s vehicle and Deputy Ashurst’s cruiser became stuck in mud.

Patterson then exited his vehicle and a 500-yard foot pursuit began. After deploying a Taser and a brief struggle, Deputy Ashurst apprehended and placed Patterson under arrest.

Patterson is charged with attempted murder (police officer), fleeing or evading police, speeding, reckless driving, third-degree assault (police officer), second-degree wanton endangerment (police officer), operating a motor vehicle under the influence, first-degree criminal mischief and several other traffic charges.

Patterson was lodged in the Knox County Detention Center. Knox County Sheriff Mike Smith and Barbourville City Police Chief Winston Tye assisted at the scene.