Friday, May 6, 2016

Path of destruction

Wild ride ends in jail cell for Providence man

A Providence man’s wild ride through Dixon Monday night landed him in jail on numerous charges.
Roger J. Belt, 34, was arrested and charged with driving under the influence, fleeing police, leaving the scene of an accident, and five counts of criminal mischief.

According to several eyewitness reports, Belt took a serpentine path along U.S. 41-A, running through yards and driveways before finally crashing into an embankment on State Route 1340.

Webster County Sheriff Frankie Springfield was at home at the time of the incident.

“I heard this big boom, and I thought [my daughter] had dropped something in the front room,” he said.
When he checked, he said his daughter reported that “poles and wires are flying all over the place out here.”

Belt’s path took a destructive turn on the south side of Dixon when he ran off the road and clipped an electrical pole, knocking it loose.

He then came back onto and across the highway where he bent a fire hydrant, likely tearing open one of the tires on the minivan he was driving. The remains of the tire were found later in front of the Webster County Schools Board of Education offices.

Somehow, Belt directed his vehicle directly across the road and into a yard where he mowed down a few small trees and some shrubs. One tree caught under the van and was dragged behind.

Belt then shot across the highway again and ran through a fence separating the lots of a car wash and a pet grooming business. After destroying part of the fence and a mailbox, he traveled behind the grooming business, scraping down the side and pushing the siding away from the structure at the back corner.

It was there that Belt was fortunate his ride didn’t end in tragedy.

“He almost hit my propane tank,” said Tammy Brooks, owner of the closed pet grooming business.

She pointed out the tracks where Belt’s van took a sharp turn behind the building, missing the propane tank by a mere two feet.

The vehicle took a sharp right and ended up on 1340, where the potential for disaster increased.
Webster County High School was hosting baseball, softball, and tennis contests at the sports complex located on the north side of the highway. Because of the number of events, the parking areas on both sides of the road were packed.

“With all those games, it’s a wonder no one was crossing the road at just the right time,” said Springfield.

According to J-E Editor Matt Hughes, who was at the complex taking photos of the three events, tragedy was averted.

Hughes said when he heard the sound of the rim scraping along the asphalt.

“I thought it was just someone driving on a flat,” Hughes said.

When he turned to look, he saw a man and a little girl crossing the road from the parking lots on the south side.

He then noticed the van traveling at a high rate of speed and swerving all over the road.

“I looked back to the man and the girl, and he just screamed, ‘Move!’,” Hughes said. “She took off running.”

Belt made it another mile before burying the front end of the van in the north side embankment just past the electrical station. He jumped from the vehicle and began to run through the clearing where power lines separated two heavily wooded areas.

WCSD Deputy Derrick Ray had caught up to Belt and instructed him to stop numerous times, but the offender refused and ran into the woods.

Springfield and Deputy Scott Starkey arrived on the scene and the three began searching for Belt along the tree line.

After failing to spot him, the officers began to dicuss where Belt was likely to exit the woods. After determining the most likely spot being at the bottom of the long hill just past the electrical station, a call came over the radio that Kentucky State Police Trooper Daniel Holland had spotted Belt approximately one mile northwest in a field.

Springfield and his deputies raced down the hill to join the search for Belt. After a 15 minute search, He was found and taken into custody.

Belt was transported to the Webster County Detention Center in Dixon, where he refused all tests for blood alcohol content.

It wasn’t known Tuesday morning whether Belt would be arraigned in Webster District Court that day. Springfield said it would be more likely he would be included in next week’s docket, though he wasn’t certain.

Reach Morgan McKinley
 at 270-667-2068 or

No comments:

Post a Comment