Member Login

Car Thief Who Crashed Into Church Bus in Covington Headed to Prison

Each week The River City News talks with Kenton County Commonwealth's Attorney Rob Sanders about his weekly e-newsletter that highlights who was sent to prison or got probation in the previous week. At the bottom of this post you can find a link to that newsletter. Here are this week's questions and answers:

Follow The River City News at Facebook and Twitter!

RCN: Anthony Palmer was sentenced to five years in prison (consecutive to another case) after pleading guilty to receiving stolen property (less than $10,000), fleeing or evading, and criminal mischief. What's his story?

SANDERS: There was a burglary at a home in Campbell County from which a Chevy Malibu was stolen.  Unfortunately for the thief, the car was equipped with On-Star which tracked it going Southbound on Holman Avenue near Robbins.  Officer Rob Fain was on Madison Avenue at the time and headed over the 12th Street bridge to look for the stolen car.  Officer Fain spotted it going Eastbound on 12th so he made a U-turn and began to follow.  The car pulled into a parking lot in the 1300 block of Madison at which time Fain activated his emergency lights.  Rather than stopping, the car sped off with Fain giving chase.  The car weaved around several blocks on the Eastside, running every traffic light and stop sign, then drove the wrong way on East 13th, almost striking Officer Ryan Eldridge's on-coming police cruiser.  Eventually the car turned North on Madison and accelerated to speeds of 80-90 MPH.  Officers were unable to safely keep up with the car and Fain lost sight of it at 6th & Madison.  Thinking the driver was heading for the interstate, officers turned West on 4th Street.  A few seconds later, however, dispatch started getting calls from a Chevy Malibu that crashed into a church bus at Covington Landing.  Officers proceeded to the Landing where they found Anthony Palmer entrapped behind the wheel of the car they'd been chasing.  Palmer crashed the stolen car into an empty church bus that was waiting for a group to return from the Convention Center.  Palmer was going so fast that when he crashed into the bus, it was pushed backwards through the decorative metal fencing around the edge of the landing.  Fortunately, the bus stopped before going over the edge but the fencing landed on the riverbank.

Palmer was injured in the wreck and transported to University Hospital in Cincinnati for treatment.  This caused a problem for Covington Police because they lose jurisdiction at the state line.  Rather than transporting Palmer to jail when he's released from the hospital, police in Kentucky have to get a arrest warrant and have their suspect extradited back through Ohio's courts.  If the suspect contests extradition rather than waiving it, the process can take up to 90 days.  In this instance, however, Palmer was extradited first to Campbell County to face Burglary and other charges related to when the vehicle was stolen.  Palmer ended up with a 5 year sentence in that case. 
 
Palmer then came to Kenton County.  He requested a sentence concurrent to Campbell, which I would have considered had he only been guilty of Receiving Stolen Property for possessing what he stole in Campbell, but when he ran from the cops, put Kenton County citizens' lives at risk, and caused significant property damage here in our county, any chance of concurrent time went out the window.  Palmer pled guilty to Receiving Stolen Property (>$10K), Fleeing Police 1st Degree, and Criminal Mischief 1st Degree on June 10, 2013.  He was already serving the Campbell County prison sentence so a pre-sentence investigation had just been completed, allowing Kenton Circuit Judge Patricia Summe to sentence him to another 5 year sentence on the same day.  The 5 years in Kenton is consecutive to the 5 in Campbell, for a total of 10 years.
 
This is an important message to criminals.  If you victimize the citizens of this county, don't think for a minute your time will automatically run concurrent to the time you get for crimes in other counties.  This office is very intent on ensuring criminals who victimize Kenton County residents pay for the crime with separate Kenton County time.
 
RCN:  It'll be 20 years in prison for Tony Lee who pleaded guilty to trafficking in a controlled substance, first degree (second offense) plus six years for trafficking in opiates (can you clarify if it's consecutive?). What did Lee do?
 
SANDERS: Tony Lee sold more than 2g of heroin in a Confidential Informant working with the NKY Drug Strike Force at the Lookout Motel in Ft. Wright.  Agents moved in and stopped Lee as he drive away.  The money the NKDSF provided to purchase the drugs was found in Lee's car.  Lee has multiple prior felony convictions out of Hamilton County, OH for narcotics trafficking and weapons related offenses.  Lee pled guilty to Trafficking >2g Heroin, 2nd Offense, on May 13, 2013.  Asst. Commonwealth's Attorney Casey Burns recommended a 20 year sentence which was imposed by Kenton Circuit Judge Martin Sheehan on June 10, 2013.
 
The other Tony Lee case should actually be Alphonso Bowers.  It was our mistake but the confusion was Mr. Bower's own doing, because Mr. Bowers claimed to be Mr. Lee when he was arrested by Covington Police on October 23, 2012.  Officer Ryan Malone went to a residence looking for another suspected drug dealer, who he found, but also found Bowers in possession of a baggie full of pain pills he was not prescribed.  Bowers claimed to be Lee and was booked in under Lee's name and information.  Some time later, probably after he did not make bail and realized Lee's criminal record was going to make life a lot worse for him, Bowers came clean about his true identity.  The newsletter should have had Bower's name for this case, not Lee's but we missed the "AKA" when imputing the data for publication. 
 
RCN: Larry Ackerman was sentenced to one and a half years in prison after pleading guilty to theft of identity. What can you tell us about this case?
 
SANDERS: Someone who knew Larry Ackerman also knew he was wanted for a probation violation in Grant County so they called police and told dispatchers Ackerman could be located at a house on Western Avenue.  When Officers Justin Wietholter and Bryan Wells knocked on the door, another guy jumped out a back window and unsuccessfully  tried to run.  Turns out that guy had a probation violation warrant too.  After arresting him, the officers began running everyone in the house for warrants.  Ackerman produced a KY Identification card belonging to Jason Ackerman.  The officers weren't buying that the ID card was the same person as the guy with whom they were dealing.  Eventually Larry Ackerman admitted his true identity and said he was trying to avoid being arrested for his probation violation warrant.  Search incident to arrest revealed Larry Ackerman also had Jason Ackerman's birth certificate in his pocket.  Larry Ackerman pled guilty to Theft of Identity on April 1, 2013.  Judge Patricia Summe sentenced him to the 1 1/2 year sentence recommended by Asst. Commonwealth's Attorney Lawrence Hilton which will run consecutive to Ackerman's sentence for Trafficking in a Controlled Substance 1st Degree out of Grant County.
 
See the full list and mugshots of those who were convicted of felonies in Kenton County Circuit Court in addition to a full explanation of the Cline case ​at the link: This Week in Kenton Co. Circuit Court
 
Photo: Scene after stolen car hit church bus at Covington Landing/provided