Two juveniles charged for throwing rock that caused Boyle deputy to wreck

Published 4:25 pm Sunday, January 27, 2019

Two juveniles were detained, questioned and then charged Sunday afternoon for allegedly throwing a rock into the windshield of a Boyle County sheriff’s deputy’s SUV, causing him to wreck.

Boyle County Sheriff Derek Robbins confirmed at 4 p.m. that the two juveniles were still being held by deputies and had not yet been sent to a jail.

“We were able to track down some leads through video and just putting bits and pieces from different videos together,” he said.

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“We went to speak with them and the vehicle was there,” Robbins said.

The teenagers have been charged with first-degree assault of a police officer; felony leaving the scene of a wreck and failing to render aid; and criminal mischief. Their names are not being released at this time due to their ages.

“They are very close to being 18,” Robbins said. “I don’t know if they will be charged as adults. That will ultimately be up to the prosecution. I don’t have any say in that.”

Robbins said the partnership between the Boyle Sheriff’s Office and the Danville Police Department “without a doubt” paid off in closing the case so quickly.

“Anytime something big like this happens, they are the absolute first ones there as we are for them. That’s just the way it is,” he said. “Whatever piddly little differences we have, when something like this happens it’s not even relevant. I couldn’t say enough good things about our partnership … those guys are tremendous.”

Robbins said based on what he knows from watching interviews with the teens, “I don’t have any doubt that they didn’t have any intent of causing a potentially deadly situation like that. But their actions created a situation where (Deputy Phillip Dean) very easily could have lost his life.”

Deputy Phillip Dean’s Ford Explorer came to rest on its side after rolling multiple times. Dean suffered minor injuries and is expected to fully recover. (Boyle County Emergency Management Photo)

Dean was responding to 911 calls about someone throwing rocks while driving along Ky. 34 in north Boyle County before 5 a.m. Sunday. One thrown rock had already damaged a semi-truck.

“He was probably about a half a mile away from the scene … when an approaching vehicle threw a large rock,” Robbins said.

The rock probably weighs between 6 and 10 pounds, Robbins explained, and was likely traveling in excess of 100 miles per hour upon initial impact, because of the opposing speeds of the two vehicles.

“That heavy a rock, a windshield is not going to — that was just a formality; it was just in the way,” Robbins said. “The rock itself was big enough that if it had hit him in the right spot, it could have killed him. Not to mention the wreck after he flipped from getting hit. So he’s lucky from a lot of different perspectives.”

The wreck occurred in the area of Stony Point Road on Ky. 34, where the westbound lane briefly widens to two lanes. The first emergency tone went out at about 4:50 a.m., said Mike Wilder, Boyle County Emergency Manage director.

Dean did not have to be admitted to the hospital and was already home recovering Sunday morning, Wilder said.

Robbins said Dean’s 2016 Ford Explorer rolled multiple times, traveled through a tree line, possibly skidded on its roof for some distance, and came to rest on its side against a tin shed in a local resident’s front yard. 

“He hollered on the radio to dispatch letting them know he was in an accident but he didn’t know where he was. I’m sure he was stunned,” Robbin said. “They had him call 911, which they did a really good job. They were able to ping his cell phone, his location and he met the responding Danville (Police Department) officers on the road. He was the only deputy we had out at the time, so he really didn’t have any backup with us, but Danville PD — we help each other out and they were really quick.”

A photo of Boyle County Sheriff’s Deputy Phillip Dean, the deputy injured after an unknown vehicle threw a rock through his window.

Robbins said Dean has worked for the sheriff’s office for about five years; he worked for the Danville Police Department before that and has more than eight years of law enforcement experience.

“He’s tough. He’s been an officer or deputy for quite a while. Obviously he’s never been through anything like this,” Robbins said. “… but it scared him. His initial reaction was he thought he got shot because his windshield just exploded and he didn’t know what happened. That’s how traumatic it was. And then once he stopped rolling over, he said, ‘My first thought was: Hey wait a minute, I’m still alive.'”

Robbins said after the news broke, he began getting calls from law enforcement agencies across the state asking if they can help or provide any resources.

“Everybody is one big family when something like this happens,” he said. “You’ve got help coming out of the woodwork.”

The public helped out, too, he added.

“I’d like to thank the public. Our Facebook page had 800-and-something comments” expressing support and offering prayers, he said. “We really appreciate that because it helps.”