SOMERSET – A Science Hill man with a history of methamphetamine-related offenses pleaded guilty to multiple charges in Pulaski Circuit Court Wednesday (December 22).
Scott Keeney, 36, entered the guilty please to two counts of manufacture of methamphetamine, three counts of felony wanton endangerment, one count of unlawful possession of a methamphetamine precursor, and three counts of persistent felony offender, said Eddy F. Montgomery, Pulaski County Commonwealth’s Attorney.
Keeney had been scheduled to stand trial on these charges the first week of January 2011.
Troubles began for Keeney on March 20, 2010, when the Somerset Police Department stopped him for careless driving at the intersection of U.S. 27 and KY 80, stated David L. Dalton, assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney and UNITE prosecutor.
Observing suspicious behavior, the officer began to question Keeney regarding his conduct. After refusing to exit his vehicle, Keeney drove off and attempted to elude police, Dalton said, adding the pursuit wound through streets around Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital and back onto KY 80, reaching speeds in excess of 120 miles per hour.
During the chase Keeney tried to throw a can of pills out of his vehicle into Fishing Creek. Police were able to recover the can, which contained 256 pseudoephedrine pills and coffee filters – materials needed in the production of methamphetamine.
Keeney was arrested after his vehicle was eventually halted using “stop sticks” deployed by Pulaski County Sheriff’s deputies.
On May 28, Keeney was again stopped by the Somerset Police Department for a traffic violation, Dalton said. A search of the vehicle resulted in more items used to make methamphetamine – 323 pseudoephedrine pills, plastic tubing, lithium batteries, coffee filters, rubber gloves and various canisters – and components from an active meth lab, which was dismantled by the Lake Cumberland Area Drug Task Force (LCADTF) and Somerset Fire/EMS.
Just over a month later, on July 1, the LCADTF received a complaint that people had been purchasing items used to make methamphetamine and that their vehicle was in the Antioch area. SPD and LCADTF agents began a search for the vehicle and eventually located it at a residence west of Coal Bank Road.
Keeney, who was driving the vehicle, again refused to exit and drove off, nearly running over three officers.
A short time later Keeney jumped out of the car holding a burning can, Dalton said. He tossed the can into a ditch line where it exploded.
The can was later determined to contain methamphetamine components.
Keeney was indicted by a Pulaski County Grand Jury and a trial date set for early next year. On Wednesday, in a hearing before Pulaski Circuit Judge David A. Tapp, Keeney entered guilty pleas to the charges.
Dalton said he would recommend 25 years in prison when he is sentenced on February 18.
Judge Tapp denied a defense motion to lower Keeney’s bond, stating he did not believe Keeney would abide by the conditions of bond and would likely re-offend. He was remanded into custody until his sentencing.
Montgomery stated that the investigation leading up to the plea was handled as part of his office’s partnership with Operation UNITE for the investigation and prosecution of drug offense. UNITE is a regional anti-drug organization focused on drug investigations, treatment and education serving Congressman Hal Rogers’ Fifth Congressional District.
“Keeney’s case is an example of a drug investigation that requires months of work covering several different episodes of lawlessness,” Montgomery said. “UNITE’s support allows me to devote one prosecutor – Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney David Dalton – to the task of pulling these various cases together. I commend Operation UNITE for their support in these cases.”
Dalton thanked the various law enforcement agencies for their tireless efforts on these cases.
“There was a ton of evidence to be collected and tested. Hours of surveillance were poured over, and old methamphetamine associate of Keeney’s was tracked down, and every piece of evidence was checked twice,” Dalton said. “In sum, law enforcement worked hard and worked together. They did a super job.”
“Keeney endangered a lot of lives during this crime spree and we had to make sure that he was taken off the streets for some time,” Dalton continued. “I think that job has been accomplished.”
“As the legislature takes up the task of reforming our criminal justice system, I hope this case reminds the public that although treatment and rehabilitation are important goals, we must remain vigilant of dangerous criminals that must be locked away to protect our citizens,” Montgomery stressed. “With luck and guidance, perhaps the legislature will not throw caution to the wind and strip the courts and law enforcement of tools necessary to protect the public.”