Officer Taulbee to be honored at Tuesday ceremony

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By Sarah Bennett, Landmark News Service

A Hodgenville police officer killed in September during a vehicle pursuit will be honored Tuesday during a ceremony for fallen officers at the Department of Criminal Justice Training in Richmond.

Mark A. Taulbee, 43, was killed Sept. 16 while pursuing Jason Avis, 30, of Vine Grove on Ky. 210. According to Kentucky State Police, Avis was a suspect in a domestic disturbance.

During the chase, Taulbee lost control of his vehicle for unknown reasons. His cruiser spun clockwise and struck an embankment on the driver’s side before going airborne, police said.

Police said Taulbee was ejected from the vehicle. He was wearing a seatbelt.

In November, a LaRue County grand jury indicted Avis with wanton murder, first-degree fleeing or evading police, first-degree wanton endangerment, leaving the scene of an accident and first-degree persistent felony offense. His jury trial is set for Oct. 22.

According to a news release, Taulbee is one of two officers killed in 2012 who will be honored during Tuesday’s hour-long ceremony. The other is Marion County Sheriff’s Deputy Anthony Rakes, who was shot during a traffic stop Nov. 14.

Abbie Darst, DOCJT program coordinator, said a recruit will stand, salute and present a flag to one of Taulbee’s family members.

Gov. Steve Beshear and Brandy Durman, wife of a Lexington police officer killed in 2010, will speak, Darst said.

In addition, she said Taulbee and Rakes’ names will be added to the Kentucky Law Enforcement Memorial along with six more officers: U.S. Marshal Releigh Killion killed in 1884, Officer Thomas D. Martin of Stanford Police Department killed in 1931, Deputy Thee Madden of Knott County Sheriff’s Office killed in 1933, State Trooper Vernon Snellen killed in 1937, and Deputies Bill Baker and George Puckett of Perry County Sheriff’s Office killed in 1950.

Including this year’s additions, the monument bears engraved names of 509 Kentucky officers killed in duty and dates back to the mid-1800s.

The ceremony in front of the Kentucky Law Enforcement Memorial has been held for 14 years, Darst said. During that time, there has been only one year during which no officers were killed in the line of duty, she said.