The Richmond Register

February 17, 2014

UPDATED: Three charged with assaulting referee at YMCA

Sports official also a KSP trooper

By Sarah Hogsed
Register News Writer

RICHMOND — Three people were arrested this weekend and charged with assaulting a sports official after an altercation during a youth basketball game at the Telford YMCA in Richmond.

Kentucky State Police Sgt. Harvey Baxter was refereeing a game at the center Saturday afternoon when the incident occurred, according to Post 7 spokesperson Trooper Robert Purdy.

The coach for a 7- to 8-year-old basketball team, Joshua T. Mills, 30, incurred two technical fouls for unsportsmanlike conduct and was ejected from the game, according to Purdy and a statement from YMCA CEO Dave Wallace.

“Numerous requests were made asking (Mills) to leave the building,” Wallace stated.

Baxter then identified himself as a police officer, and told Mills that if he did not leave the property, he would be charged with trespassing, according to Purdy.

Mills again refused to leave, and Baxter placed him under arrest on a charge of second-degree trespassing, Purdy said.

A physical altercation between Baxter and Mills ensued, and Mills’ girlfriend, 21-year-old Tiffany Nicole Sparks, became involved, according to Purdy.

Richmond police arrived at the YMCA and assisted Baxter in taking Mills and Sparks into custody. Then, a third woman, 28-year-old Amanda Sue Estep, became involved and also was arrested, according to the KSP.

Baxter suffered minor injuries to his body and knees, Purdy said.

Mills and Sparks were charged with assault of a sports official (first offense), resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and third-degree assault on a police officer.

Estep was charged with assault of a sports official (first offense), resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.

Assault of a sports official is a Class A misdemeanor if it is a first offense and less than five people are involved, according to Kentucky statute. A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to 12 months in jail.

However, third-degree assault on a police officer is a felony, which carries a sentence of one to five years in prison.

Baxter has been a referee at the Telford YMCA for seven years, and “he said nothing like this has ever happened before,” Purdy said.

Wallace said the Telford YMCA will “take the necessary steps to prevent the individuals involved in this incident from accessing YMCA facilities as well as participating in any and all future YMCA programs and activities.”

However, this ban will not apply to the children of the adults involved, he added.

Wallace said the incident “is not indicative of the positive atmosphere surrounding the youth programs at the YMCA,” which works to instill “Christian principles into practice through programs that build a healthy spirit, mind and body for all.” 

Sarah Hogsed can be reached at shogsed@richmondregister.com or 624-6694.