An early morning car chase Wednesday through three counties ended in Richmond with the help of multiple police agencies, truck drivers and spike strips.

Justin Vineyards, 27, of Knoxville, Tenn., was driving at an excessively slow speed along Interstate 75 around 9:45 a.m. in Laurel County when he was first approached by police.

“Vineyards was traveling at around 40 mph on the Interstate near mile marker 44 in Laurel County when he was spotted by a Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement Officer,” Trooper Chris Lanham of the Richmond KSP post said.

After being pulled over, Vineyards produced a license that appeared to be abnormal.

“The officer noticed the picture did not look like Vineyards,” Lanham said. “There was a significant weight difference.”

When questioned about the difference between his identification and personal appearance Vineyards reportedly told police, “It’s up to you to find out who I am” and drove off the side of the highway, heading north on I-75.

Vineyards fled through Laurel and Rockcastle counties and entered Madison shortly before 11 a.m.

As he illegally traveled north, Vineyards was followed by an ever-growing contingent of police officials, including Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement, members of the Laurel County Area Task Force, Kentucky State Police officers from both the London and Richmond posts, Berea police officers and members of the Madison County Sheriff’s Office.

“There was even a Homeland Security officer who happened to be in the area who became involved,” Lanham said.

At times, Vineyards reached “high rates” of speed, Lanham said. But because of the timing of the chase and the flow of traffic, Vineyards was sometimes stuck behind traffic or purposely blocked.

“We had some tractor trailers helping us out by blocking him in,” Lanham said. “There was also a pretty steady flow of traffic. We were lucky no one was hurt.”

Because of the high traffic volume, Richmond KSP troopers decided that in order to stop Vineyards they needed to use a more aggressive technique.

“Sgt. Steve Owens laid spike strips around mile marker 82 in Madison County,” Lanham said. “He placed them near the barrier walls close to where the rest area used to be.”

The strips brought Vineyards’ run to an end.

“They cause a slow deflation of the tires,” Lanham said. “Basically, if you keep driving after hitting the strips, you riding on rims.”

Shortly after going over the barrier, Vineyards lost control of his steering and struck a median at which time police were able to bring him and his vehicle under their control.

“When we approached Vineyards he was complaining of shortness of breath, being dizzy and having an accelerated heart rate,” Lanham said. “As a precaution he was taken to Pattie A. Clay Regional Medical Center. There is suspicion that Vineyards was under the influence of drugs.”

Vineyards was released from the hospital and charged with driving below the posted minimum speed limit, first-degree fleeing or evading and having no insurance.

Lanham added that these counts, plus additional charges will probably be filed in Laurel County.

“He had violations in all three counties, so anyone could prosecute,” Lanham said. “I think that London will probably handle the case because of where it began.”

Vineyards had yet to be incarcerated and was still undergoing questioning late Wednesday afternoon.

Heather Harris can be reached at or by phone at 624-6694 or 893-2341.

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