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December 31, 2013

2 indicted for fatal August wreck

Strunk, Hayes accused of drag racing

WHITLEY CITY —   A McCreary County grand jury last week returned an indictment against two local men involved in the August 27 accident which killed 20-year-old Caitlin Moore of Stearns.

    The indictment charges Benjamin A. Strunk, 23, of East Appletree Road in Revelo with murder, fourth-degree assault and first-offense DUI in connection with the two-vehicle accident which occurred on East KY 92 in Pine Knot just passed the Cal Hill Road intersection.

    Strunk was driving a 2010 Hyundai Genesis westbound in the eastbound lane and struck an eastbound 2007 Chrysler PT Cruiser — driven by Steven Maggiora, 53, of Strunk — at a high rate of speed.

    The impact sent the Hyundai skidding along the ditchline, ejecting both Strunk and his passenger, Moore, as it flipped. Neither appeared to be wearing a seatbelt.

    Moore was pronounced dead at the scene. Strunk was airlifted to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville. Maggiora, who was wearing a seatbelt, did not require medical transport.

    Authorities suspected drug use as a factor in the crash. Witness statements at the time also indicated Strunk was racing with another westbound vehicle which did not initially remain at the scene. That driver — identified as David Allen Hayes, 21, of Bethel Road (Williamsburg) — was located by law enforcement and returned to the scene for questioning.

    The grand jury charged Hayes with Complicity to Murder, first-degree Wanton Endangerment and Leaving the Scene of an Accident.

    Leading the investigation was Kentucky State Police Trooper Craig Reed, a traffic crash reconstructionist. Reed arrested Strunk around 4 p.m. on December 23. Hayes turned himself in at the McCreary County Sheriff’s Office around 9:15 p.m. that night.

    Both men have been lodged in the Wayne County Detention Center under a $100,000 cash bond. They are scheduled to be arraigned in McCreary Circuit Court on January 13.

    In other business, grand jurors returned a 66-count indictment against Madonna Bridges, 34, of Whitley City. Bridges has been charged with 42 counts of Theft by Failure to Make Required Disposition Under $500 and 24 counts of Theft by Failure to Make Required Disposition Over $500 but Less than $10,000.

    Between May 9, 2012, and August 12, 2013, Bridges is accused of converting a combined total of $25,475.23 for her own use which belonged to McCreary Primary Care Center.

    Readers are reminded that an indictment is a charge and should not be considered as evidence of an individual’s guilt. Anyone under indictment is presumed innocent until and unless convicted in a court of law.

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