Grand jury indicts man on theft charge

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By Calen McKinney

The man who allegedly stole a Taylor County school bus and led police on a short chase has been indicted on theft and other charges.

Ronald E. Vanheck, 33, of 726 Buckner St. was indicted Tuesday by a Taylor County grand jury.

According to a Taylor County Sheriff's Office report, Deputy Rodney Cox noticed Vanheck, who is not employed by the Taylor County School System, driving a Taylor County school bus on Saturday, Aug. 29.

The report states that Vanheck was turning into the INFAC parking lot on Roberts Road when Cox attempted to stop him. Vanheck refused to stop, according to the report, and turned left on Allen Street. Cox then pursued Vanheck.

The pursuit ended, according to the report, when Vanheck struck the front of Campbellsville Police Officer Bobby Gribbins' vehicle. Vanheck attempted to reverse, which caused him to strike Cox's vehicle. Cox's and Gribbins' vehicles both received minor damage.

The vehicles are both still drivable and the chase lasted less than five minutes, Cox said, but the damage to the bus and police vehicles could total thousands of dollars.

No one was injured in the chase, Cox said, and Vanheck wasn't driving at an excessive speed. He said Vanheck might have reached 45 mph in a 35 mph zone.

Vanheck was charged with theft by unlawful taking more than $10,000, two counts of first-degree wanton endangerment, first-degree fleeing or evading police, reckless driving, failure to wear seat belts, failure to have a commercial driver's license and being a first-degree persistent felony offender.

In a separate case, Vanheck was also indicted on charges accusing him of stealing a backhoe owned by the Taylor County Road Department. He was charged with receiving more than $10,000 in stolen property and an additional count of being a first-degree persistent felony offender.

Bond was set at $25,000 cash. If convicted of all charges against him, Vanheck could be sentenced to as much as 35 years in prison.

The charge of being a persistent felony offender could increase any sentence he might receive.

To read about all the grand jury's action, see Monday's print edition.