An Alabama man faces charges that he stole a $22,000 radar from a former employer and almost crashed into an off-duty officer while hauling the equipment through Frankfort toward his home state.
Authorities also suspect alcohol was involved in the incident, but toxicology tests are pending.
Robert R. Callison, of Boaz, Alabama, was indicted Tuesday by a grand jury in Franklin County Circuit Court. He faces a litany of charges, which could be punishable by more than 15 years in prison if he is convicted in the case.
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Zach Becker said the series of events began Aug. 12 with traffic backing up on Interstate 64 westbound as it is known to do at times. An off-duty officer who had his family in his car with him began to slow down with the traffic when he saw in his rear-view mirror a Chevrolet Cavalier fast approaching, Becker said.
“He even tells his family to brace for impact,” Becker said. “But the car, driven by Callison, veers onto the shoulder and avoids the crash. The car then starts weaving in and out of traffic.”
Becker said the off-duty officer watched as the car swerved through traffic to eventually come to a complete stop in the fast lane of I-64. The off-duty officer and a Louisville Metro Police Department officer then got behind the car and, as they waited for local law enforcement to make their way through the snarled interstate traffic, approached the driver, Becker said.
Callison “was actually passed out in the driver seat,” Becker said. “Once he is roused, though, he tries to take off.”
Becker said Callison discarded a marijuana “roach” as he attempted to flee, but officers found a baggie of marijuana in his back seat when he was stopped and taken into custody. About three days later, local officers received a call from law enforcement in West Earl Township, Pennsylvania, that a man sought in their jurisdiction for theft was in Franklin County’s custody.
The officers said Callison had been caught on video at his former employer’s job site loading a ground-penetrating radar — a piece of equipment valued at about $22,000 that is used to detect underground utilities — into his car a day after he had been fired from his job. Only a few hours after the video was captured, a car that appeared to be the same as the one in which the radar had been loaded almost crashed with the off-duty officer on I-64, Becker said.
“They got a search warrant and come to find that in the truck is this ground-penetrating radar,” Becker said. “It’s a sizable piece of equipment and valuable.”
Callison is charged with receiving stolen property worth more than $10,000, a Class C felony; first-degree wanton endangerment and tampering with physical evidence, both Class D felonies; possession of drug paraphernalia and third-degree possession of a controlled substance, both Class A misdemeanors; DUI, first offense, and possession of marijuana, both Class B misdemeanors; and reckless driving and improper parking/block traveled portion of highway, both violations.