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 Sheriff’s Dept. Investigating Possible Overdose Death Here

June 17, 2009 - The Henry County Sheriff's Department is investigating a citizen's complaint against one of the town's police officers and a reserve officer.

The complaint, filed by Knightstown resident Scott Gross on June 4, alleges Knightstown Police Department officer Derek Hall and KPD reserve officer Carey Stidham failed to check on the welfare of a woman Gross had told Stidham was possibly overdosing on May 30. About three hours after Gross allegedly first brought the matter to Stidham's attention, the woman, Angelina Wagner of Barbourville, Ky., was discovered dead at a residence on South Jefferson Street.

According to his complaint, Gross saw Wagner at Zippers Bar & Grill and thought it looked like something was wrong with her. He said he walked outside the bar and called Stidham on his cell phone to report that the woman may have been overdosing, and that Stidham told him he would send an officer.

Gross said when he went back in the bar, Wagner and her friend decided to leave, and he helped Wagner to her friend's vehicle. As he was doing this, he said he received text messages from Stidham that said he and Hall were monitoring a storm moving east toward town along Interstate 70 and didn't have time to deal with what Gross had reported.

After helping Wagner into the car, Gross said he phoned Stidham to tell him Wagner and her friend were leaving the bar. Gross said he gave the reserve officer a description of the car and told him which direction it was headed, and that Stidham told him he would take care of it.

Gross said in his complaint that he didn't hear back from Stidham until about 1:30 a.m., when Stidham called to tell him that Wagner had died. He alleges that Stidham told him that Hall didn't want Gross to say anything to anyone about this matter out of the officers' fears of losing their jobs over the incident.

Knightstown Chief of Police Danny Baker told The Banner that he has turned this matter over to the HCSD for investigation. He declined to say whether he had spoken to Hall or Stidham about the matter or whether the officers verified Gross' allegation, referring The Banner to the HCSD for more information.

Sheriff Butch Baker confirmed last week that his agency has received the file from Baker. He said the HCSD is looking into Gross' complaint against Hall and Stidham.

An incident report prepared by KPD officer Tony Lorton indicates that Wagner, 34, may have consumed more than a fifth of a gallon of Jack Daniels on May 30 before going to Zippers. Baker said it could be another six weeks before Henry County Coroner Stacey Guffey receives toxicology results that could help determine the exact cause of Wagner's death.


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