Barren County Sheriff Facing Second Lawsuit

By: Lauren Forsythe Email
By: Lauren Forsythe Email

A second lawsuit has now been filed against the Barren County Sheriff's Office.

A civil suit was filed by Mark Smith on August 17th.

When Smith ran out of gas on Thompkinsville Rd. in Barren County August 19, 2011, he pulled off the road onto someone's property.

Smith says he asked the property owner if he could park at the bottom of the driveway overnight.

When he returned to his car, several deputies had already arrived.

"The officer said this is my road and you don't have permission to park your car here and that sort of was you know the general tenor of the entire encounter," says Laura Landenwich, the lawyer representing Smith.

Landenwich says Mark Smith told her deputies used excessive force.

"My client was given a breathalyzer at the scene. He asked to see the results of the breathalyzer test and the deputies refused to provide those results to him. And that is essentially what touched off the physical altercation because my client said, 'If you're not going to show them to me, then I must have passed it'."

The owner of the property who wanted to remain anonymous told us when Mark Smith came to his door, he was "obviously drunk".

The property owner also says he could not hear what the deputies were saying, but they did not appear to act out of line.

Mark smith called a friend to come pick him up.

The property owner believes the friend was also under the influence.

He says while smith was taken to the Barren County Jail, the deputies had to call for someone to come pick up the friend.

Landenwich says the deputies did not offer to help smith with his car problems.

"My client could have used police assistance. You know, its sort of baffling to me that these deputies did not offer to help him get some gas or help him get the vehicle to another location."

But, lawyers for the Barren County Sheriff's Office say not all the information has been presented.

"We don't believe the facts match up with Mr. Smith's allegations, which present only his version of the story. We intend to make a vigorous defense of deputies Wyatt, Sponhouse, Bennett, and Sheriff Eaton and look forward to the opportunity.

The civil suit will be heard in US District court.

Mark Smith was charged with alcohol intoxication in a public place and disorderly conduct, but the charges against him have been dropped by the Barren County Sheriff's Office.


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