By: NICK RAHALL
May 7, 2013
BLACKBERRY, Ky. — A Williamson police officer who had been suspended without pay following a DUI arrest in Pike County, Ky., was found unresponsive at his parent’s home on Monday afternoon. He was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.
Jefferson (Jeff) Taylor III, 27, of Williamson, had been a patrolman with the Williamson City Police Department (WPD) for two years before his death. WPD Chief C.D. Rockel spoke with the Daily News concerning the death of the officer, saying that it was a tragic loss of life.
“This saddens me heart,” stated Rockel. “Our department has suffered a great loss and Jeff will be greatly missed, and hard to replace. He was a good officer.”
“My heart goes out to Jeff’s family and friends, and to each and every officer within this county who served with him. He made a lot of friends and his death will leave a definite void.”
According to reports from Pikeville Post 9 of the Kentucky State Police (KSP), in the early morning hours of April 30, Taylor, who was not on duty at the time, allegedly crashed his police cruiser into an electric pole in the Hardy Camp community, totaling the vehicle. He reportedly left the scene and was located approximately 2 hours after the accident occurred at the residence of a family member and was placed under arrest by a KSP trooper on charges of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol and leaving the scene of an accident.
Taylor allegedly told the arresting officer that he had taken a prescription sleep aid and had consumed an alcoholic beverage/energy drink called Four Loko that has actually been banned in several states. Later he recanted this statement and told the trooper he had not taken any medication or consumed any alcohol, although the officer stated he detected the smell of alcohol on his breath. Taylor submitted to a blood toxicology screen, which the results of are still pending. The officer was removed from active duty and was suspended without pay pending the investigation results of the KSP and an internal investigation by the WPD.
Pike County Coroner Mike Hall pronounced Taylor dead and sent the body to Frankfort, Ky. for an autopsy. Taylor’s death is under investigation by KSP Detective Newsome. More information regarding this case will be released as they become available.