A Johnson County man who pleaded guilty to his role in a truck theft and fleeing from Kentucky State Police troopers in December was sentenced in Johnson County Circuit Court Friday to serve more than 14 years in prison for the crimes.
Court documents said troopers contacted Justin D. Combs, 31, of Wittensville, who was sentenced by Johnson Circuit Court Judge John David Preston to serve more than 14 years on a number of felony charges linked to an incident in August in which, police said, he ran from police officers attempting to serve a warrant on him. The sentence was recommended by the office of Johnson Commonwealth’s Attorney Tony Skeans as a part of a plea deal.
Kentucky State Police troopers R. Hale and Joseph Weddington were dispatched to serve a warrant on Combs, who was said to live in Wittensville, according to the citation. Hale said that, upon arrival, the two troopers observed Combs in a vehicle that he was said to be in possession of, namely a primer gray 1985 Chevrolet pickup. The citation said Combs backed out of the driveway in front of the troopers before “abruptly (accelerating) away from (the troopers).”
The citation said the troopers then initiated a traffic stop, at which time Combs pulled over long enough to let out a man and a young child before speeding away again. After traveling approximately 100 yards, the citation said, Combs drove the truck over an embankment into a creek on Williams Branch Road and troopers observed Combs driving up the creek bed until the truck collided with a gate, rendering the vehicle inoperable after it traveled approximately 80 yards along the creek.
Combs then exited the vehicle and fled on foot, according to the citation, and was pursued by trooper Hale, who wrote in the citation that he repeatedly shouted for Combs to stop fleeing. Combs did not comply, which led to Hale pursuing him for approximately 120 yards before closing the distance and using his Taser, according to the citation. Combs, Hale wrote, was taken to the ground and detained until Trooper Weddington could arrive to assist.
The citation said that troopers searched Combs and found a small bag of a crystal substance believed to be methamphetamine, a hypodermic syringe, a glass pipe with residue, a loaded Ruger LCP .380 semi-automatic pistol and approximately $498.
Hale wrote in the citation that Combs repeatedly apologized to the troopers, stating, “he had just smoked methamphetamine, knew he had warrants and only wanted to get rid of the gun.” According to the citation, Hale knew Combs as a convicted felon, with Combs having been convicted on felony charges in a case in 2015.
As the troopers escorted Combs back to their vehicles to be detained, Hale said in the citation, they noticed an additional bag of a crystal substance in plain view on the driver’s side floorboard and a further search of the area revealed a case with the plunger of a hypodermic needle sticking out of it. According to the citation, the case contained two syringes (one “loaded”), a bag of three pink round pills (marked “M” and “MS-30” and identified as Morphine in the citation) and three more bags of the crystal substance, totaling five bags discovered during the arrest, some of which the citation said had “50” written on them.
Combs pleaded guilty in December to charges of first-degree and second-offense trafficking in a controlled substance (greater than or equal to two grams of methamphetamine), first-degree fleeing or evading police in a motor vehicle, first-degree fleeing or evading police on foot, possession of a handgun by a convicted felon, buying or possessing drug paraphernalia, resisting arrest, first-degree and first-offense possession of a controlled substance identified as opiates, endangering the welfare of a minor, non-payment of fines and multiple traffic charges.
Combs remains lodged in the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center, where he has been held since his arrest in August.