Mayor tackles suspect

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Terry Cruse restrains fleeing felon until officers arrive

By Linda Ireland

A suspected drug dealer’s flight from police ended when he was tackled by Hodgenville Mayor Terry Cruse.

Officers obtained a search warrant Thursday for the residence of Brett Alan Decker at Lot 9, Fairview Drive, Hodgenville. Police Chief John Cottrill said a tip led them to suspect the presence of drugs and handguns in the trailer.

Decker, 25, is on probation after receiving a diverted sentence on charges of fleeing/evading officers, third-degree assault and second-degree wanton endangerment in 2009. Court records indicate that Decker attempted to strike a Kentucky state trooper with his vehicle last August.

As a convicted felon, Decker is not allowed to possess handguns and is ordered to abstain from drugs.

Cottrill, Lt. Steve Johnson and Officer Robby Brownfield planned to serve the warrant on Decker about 10 p.m. Cottrill, in plain clothes, had walked to Decker’s trailer to “approach unnoticed” and avoid the presence of a police car in the neighborhood. Cruse, who  accompanied the officers, drove the cruiser to the other end of the street and was waiting for Cottrill’s return.

Decker “came to the door” when Cottrill knocked, but “took off” when he learned about the warrant, Cottrill said.

Cruse, who worked in law enforcement for 10 years and lost a bid for sheriff by fewer than 400 votes in May, heard the commotion and gave chase. He tackled Decker on Beechtree Street in the same subdivision.

“I held him until Johnson got there,” Cruse said.

Cruse said Decker was  “hollering” for help and several residents gathered nearby. Some told Cruse he didn’t have the right to tackle Decker.

“Any time there is a fleeing felon, anybody in the state can help stop him,” Cruse said. “I’m in a unique situation. I have been trained to do this.”

Cruse, who is seeking a second term as mayor, said it was not the first time he has accompanied officers as they served warrants and he plans to continue to do so.

“I get complaints all the time about drugs – on a weekly basis,” Cruse said. “People are tired of this stuff and I’m tired of it.”

“Everything worked out fine,” he added.

After officers searched the residence, Decker was charged with trafficking in controlled substance, cocaine; trafficking in controlled substance; trafficking within 1,000 yards of a school; fleeing/evading police; use or possession of drug paraphernalia; and two counts of possession of a handgun by a convicted felon.

Officers seized Decker’s vehicle, an 8x10-feet enclosed trailer at the property, cash and electronic equipment from the residence.

Decker was lodged in the LaRue County Detention Center and will be arraigned Wednesday in LaRue District Court.