A registered sex offender was found living in a vehicle at Thealka Park Monday after Johnson County Sheriff’s deputies noticed an extension cord coming from the vehicle plugged into a shelter outlet at the public park, according to a statement released by the JCSO.
The statement said JCSO deputies Lauren O’Bryan and Jerry Wiley were patrolling Thealka Park when they noticed the vehicle and made contact with the driver, Jessie Ward, 40, and noticed that Ward had “bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and delayed responses.”
Deputies ran Ward’s name through their database and discovered that he was a registered sex offender, the statement said.
Ward was sitting on a pair of brass knuckles, the statement said, and when deputies asked Ward and his passenger, Ella Colvin, 34, of Paintsville, if there was anything illegal in the vehicle, both responded that there was not. A search of the vehicle led to the discovery of four uncapped syringes, two plastic bags containing a white residue, one plastic bag containing blood, three straws suspected to be used in the snorting of drugs, a glass pipe suspected to be used to smoke methamphetamine and a prescription pill bottle with neither Ward nor Colvin’s name on the prescription.
The statement said Ward told deputies he and Colvin were homeless and living in their vehicle at the park, although Ward admitted he had been told by another deputy that they could not stay at the park past 10 p.m., and were using the shelter electricity without permission.
Ward and Colvin were arrested and lodged in the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center, where they both remained as of presstime. Ward was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, third-degree criminal trespassing, theft of services with a value of less than $500, carrying a concealed weapon, public intoxication, second-degree wanton endangerment of a police officer, first-offense violation of registered sex offender residence restrictions and first-offense violation of registered sex offender playground restrictions.
Colvin was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, second-degree wanton endangerment of a police officer, third-degree criminal trespassing, theft of services with a value of less than $500 and third-degree possession of a controlled substance.
Court dates in Colvin and Ward’s cases had not been set as of presstime Tuesday.