A Hodgenville man pleaded guilty Friday to second-degree assault of a police officer.
Jimmy Dale Murphy, 43, admitted to driving the pickup that struck 30-year veteran city officer Dennis Wells as he directed traffic in front of Hodgenville Elementary School in January.
He pleaded guilty also to one count each of operating on suspended or revoked operators license and disregarding signals from officers directing traffic.
He was sentenced to eight years on assault; 12 months for driving on suspended license; and 30 days on disregarding signal.
Due to his health issues, he will serve 52 weekends in jail before being on probation for five years, according to Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Whitney Meredith.
The 55-year-old Wells was wearing full reflective gear, including flashlight, flashing armbands, gloves and vest, when he directed traffic that day. His squad car’s emergency lights also were flashing, according to witnesses.
Wells had stopped traffic in the northbound lane of Ky. 1618. Traffic from the southbound lane had started turning into the school’s driveway when Murphy’s vehicle approached.
The pickup struck Wells, throwing him 20-to-30 feet. Wells’ head struck the pavement.
Murphy told investigators that he did not see Wells and that he was on his way to a doctor’s appointment at the time of the collision.
Wells suffered serious injuries and was flown to University Hospital in Louisville. He’s had numerous surgeries and physical therapy.
He attempted to return to work after several months but is not currently working.
A presentencing investigation was ordered.
Final sentencing for Murphy is Dec. 5.