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A tense police standoff in Finchville early Saturday morning ended peacefully, thanks to the heroic efforts of a Shelby County 911 dispatcher.
Supervisor Tony Kent, who was on duty that night with dispatcher Bobbi Richardson, said the last thing he expected was to be on the phone, talking an unstable person surrounded by armed police officers into laying down his shotgun and giving himself up.
“I expected any minute to hear shots over the phone,” Kent said.
Kentucky State Police Trooper Jack Hedges said after Kent talked the man, Eric Chesser, 30, of Buck Creek Road, into putting down the gun and coming out of his house with his hands up, he arrested him and charged him with three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment, three counts of menacing, first-degree criminal mischief, leaving the scene of an accident and failure to report an accident.
Hedges said that the incident, which happened at 2 a.m. Saturday, stemmed from a one-vehicle accident an hour earlier when Chesser’s vehicle left the road on Parent Lane, struck two utility poles and went through a wooden fence.
Hedges said Chesser told him that he had swerved to avoid hitting an animal, but Hedges said he was suspicious that alcohol could have been a factor and went back to Chesser’s house on Buck Creek. Chesser answered the door armed with a shotgun.
“We went out there to his house to talk to him, and he was really drunk, and he came to the door with a shotgun on us, me and a couple of deputies,” Hedges said.
Chesser went back into the house and called 911, a move that surprised Kent.
“As soon as I said, ‘Shelby County 911, what’s your emergency?’ he started saying there were police outside in his yard, and they were pointing guns at him. I immediately knew who this was, because we knew they were there,” Kent said.
He said Chesser told him he heard somebody outside, and he went to the door with a shotgun because he didn’t realize they were police.
“I told him to put the gun down and go to the door and let them see his hands, and he said, ‘But they’ll shoot me!’” he said.
“I said, ‘No, they won’t shoot you. I promise you.’”
Kent said he was on the phone with Chesser for 15 minutes, reassuring him, doing everything he could to persuade him to surrender.
“He said, ‘What if I just lock the door and don’t let them in?’ and I said, ‘Oh, no. You don’t want to do that.’ I didn’t want it to escalate to a barricading situation.”
Kent said at the same time Richardson was busy, too.
“She was talking to other people on the phone and taking other calls and telling the officers what I’m doing and what I’m telling him,” he said. “I was concentrating on him, and she was taking care of everything else.”
Hedges said he intends to submit a commendation for Kent.
“He kept his head, and he did a really good job,” he said.
Kent said he just wanted to keep a bad situation from getting worse.
“After I got him to lay his gun down and go to the door, I just laid my head down on the console,” he said.