A deputy jailer and a convicted burglar he was supposed to be taking to jail in Kentucky were arrested Wednesday after going on a 100-mile drunken road trip in a law-enforcement vehicle and making a series of false arrests, authorities said.
The jailer and inmate were caught after drivers began calling authorities to report that a drunken duo was making traffic stops, state Trooper Ralph Lockard said. They allegedly let the drivers go after accepting cash bribes.
The pair had left Knox County, in southeastern Kentucky, on Tuesday evening and were supposed to head to Lewis County, in the northeastern part of the state. Instead, the cruiser and the two men were found west of Lexington, in east-central Kentucky.
During the journey, “the inmate ended up out of the handcuffs and in the front seat, consuming alcohol,” Knox County Judge-Executive Raymond Smith said. “They started stopping speeding motorists and arresting them. They would get them in the back of the cruiser, cut a deal for cash and let them go.”
The deputy jailer, Clarence Wilson, 37, was driving a vehicle marked similar to a police cruiser, including emergency lights on the roof, authorities said.
Wilson, 37, has been suspended from his job pending the outcome of an investigation, Smith said. He was charged with drunken driving, impersonating an officer, unlawful imprisonment and official misconduct.
The inmate, Shawn Phillip Reynolds, 23, was charged with alcohol intoxication. He is serving five years for credit card fraud and burglary.
“I couldn’t believe this happened,” Smith said. “The next thing you’re likely to hear is that we’re on the Jerry Springer Show. I’m humiliated. I’m embarrassed. I apologize to the people of Knox County and the state.”
A police officer in Mount Sterling, about 30 miles west of Lexington, found the cruiser late Tuesday when the jailer and the inmate made another traffic stop, Lockard said. They were arrested shortly after midnight.
Wilson is being held on $3,500 bond, and Reynolds was sent to the Lewis County Jail.