Intoxicated man with gun flees Grayson County Sheriff’s Office personnel in nearly 30 mile pursuit through Grayson and Breckinridge Counties

On Thursday afternoon at approximately 4:15, Grayson County Central Dispatch received multiple calls of a reckless driver in a black Chevrolet Avalanche traveling west on the Western Kentucky Parkway near the Clarkson exit.

Grayson County Sheriff’s Deputies Fred Norder and Taylor Logsdon caught up with the vehicle around the 95 mile marker, according to Grayson County Sheriff Norman Chaffins. Deputies also received information that the suspect may be armed with a handgun.

With Deputy Norder in pursuit, the Chevy stopped on the ramp at the Caneyville exit. As Deputy Norder approached the vehicle, he advised the suspect to place both hands out of the window.  The suspect, 29-year-old Eric J. Howard, of Paducah, placed one hand out of the window and kept the other inside the Avalanche near the console. Deputy Norder did not walk any closer to the vehicle, with Howard then fleeing north on Hwy 79.

The pursuit continued through Caneyville on Hwy 79 and into and through Short Creek, where Leitchfield Police Officer Eugene Cain and Sheriff Norman Chaffins joined the chase. Because the suspect’s vehicle was an SUV, Sheriff Chaffins took the lead in the pursuit because he was driving a Dodge Ram 1500 truck.

The speed of the Avalanche ranged from 45 to 75 miles per hour as it continued through the Falls of Rough area northbound on Hwy 79.

Breckinridge County law enforcement was then notified that the pursuit was coming their way. In response, Breckinridge County Sheriff Todd Pate utilized spike strips just inside Breckinridge County, on the north side of Rough River Lake Dam.

“Sheriff Pate was set up in a perfect location as the vehicle had to slow down to negotiate the curve at the dam,” Sheriff Chaffins said.

The suspect unsuccessfully attempted to avoid the strips, with the driver’s side tires rolling over the strips.

“The tires slowly deflated until the tires literally flew off the suspect’s vehicle,” Sheriff Chaffins stated.

Howard, though, continued to drive the vehicle (which was reported stolen out of Jefferson County) on the metal rims until he ran off the roadway and into a ditch two-and-a-half miles inside Breckinridge County on Hwy 105.

Upon coming to a stop, Howard, surrounded and boxed in by several law enforcement officers from multiple agencies, placed both hands out of the window and surrendered without further incident.

Sheriff Chaffins said a loaded handgun was located in the open console of the vehicle after Howard was taken into custody.

“It is quite likely that’s the reason the suspect would not show his right hand on the initial stop, because he was waiting for Deputy Norder to approach his vehicle,” Sheriff Chaffins said. “When he saw that Deputy Norder was not approaching, he sped away.”

Howard was arrested and charged with wanton endangerment, possession of a handgun by a convicted felon, carrying a concealed deadly weapon, fleeing or evading police, DUI (his third such offense), and driving on a DUI suspended license along with multiple traffic offenses.

He was lodged in the Grayson County Detention Center.

Grayson County Deputy Sheriff Kesley Overton and the Hardinsburg Police Department also assisted in the pursuit and arrest.

By Ken Howlett, News Director

Contact Ken at ken@k105.com or 270=259-6000