Man authorities believed drowned in Ohio River after crashing stolen truck is behind bars in Kentucky


VANDERBURGH COUNTY, Ind. (WEHT) – A man authorities believed drowned in the Ohio River after crashing a stolen truck is behind bars in a Kentucky jail.

He’s facing a long list of charges – stemming from the Tri-State.

The incident started with a chase in September that ended in a crash in the Ohio River.

Authorities said Jeremiah Keen stole a truck from David Enterprises in Evansville. They said Keen drove that truck through a fence before crashing into a vehicle at Burdette Park Campground.

When deputies tried to pull that truck over on the Lloyd Expressway, they said Keen didn’t stop – leading them on a chase.

Sheriff Dave Wedding said, at the time, that Keen suddenly turned right into the water.

Rescue teams used drones and sonar to try to locate him, but they never did.

The sheriff said they would simply have to wait until his body reached the surface before he could be found.

Eyewitness News learned Monday that Keen is alive and in the Allen County, Kentucky Jail.

He was arrested in Scottsville, Kentucky on drug charges just days after the incident here in Vanderburgh County.

Deputies said he’ll now be facing additional charges from that incident here.

Keen is charged with auto theft, criminal mischief, traffic accident – hit and run, and two counts of resisting law enforcement.

The full affidavit can be found below:

I, Deputy S. Terhune, believe that on or about the ninth day of September, 2019 at 0041 hundred hours at 4301 Hogue Rd (Jerry David Enterprises) and 5301 Nurrenbern Rd (Camp Ground Lot 4) , in County of Vanderburgh, State of Indiana, the defendant, Jeremiah Keen, did commit the crime(s) of:

CT I Auto Theft- Automobiles [L6] IC CODE: 35-43-4-2.5(B)A [L6]
CT II Criminal Mischief [AM] IC CODE: 35-43-1-2(A)(1)
CT III Traffic- Accident Hit&Run/ Prop [BM] IC CODE: 9-26-1-1.1
CT IV Resist Law Enforcement [L6] IC CODE: 35-44.1-3-1(B)(1)
CT V Resist Law Enforcement [AM] IC CODE: 35-44.1-3-1 10

The undersigned, being a deputy sheriff with the Vanderburgh County Sheriff`s Office, and being duly sworn upon his/her oath, states that the below information constitutes probable cause for the above crimes, incorporated herein is also any attached sheets which are made a part of this sworn affidavit:

On September 6th at 0041 hours, deputies were dispatched to 4301 Hogue Rd (David Enterprises) in reference to stolen vehicle report. Deputy Fein arrived on scene and spoke with the reporter, Danny Ray Simmons. Deputy Fein advised Simmons, who works across the street at Bob’s Gym, told him he observed a white “dually” pick-up truck with a “flat bed” driving in reverse at a high rate of speed through the fenced lot at 4301 Hogue Rd. Deputy Fein stated Simmons said the truck crashed into the chain link gate of the business, while still driving in reverse and then fled the scene west bound on Hogue Rd. Deputy Fein observed the chain link gate, which is approximately 25 feet long to be broken away from the fence and laying approximately 60 feet south of the business. Deputy Fein said the business owner, Jerry David arrived on scene. Fein explained that he had to leave due to the suspected stolen vehicle being involved in a hit and run (reference 19-64731). Sgt. Helfrich advised he stayed on scene. Sgt. Helfrich stated he reviewed surveillance camera video which showed a white male walking through the lot and stealing a white flat bed pick up truck. Sgt Helfrich said the white male then backed through the gate to get out.

On 09/06/19 at approximately 0106 hours, Deputy Carlson and I were dispatched to 5301 Nurrenbern RD (Burdette Park Campground). Upon arrival I was met by the reporter Jeffrey Whitlock at camp site number 4. Whitlock advised he was inside his RV when he was awakened by the sound of a crash, and his RV shaking. Whitlock said he saw a white flatbed dually truck driving away quickly. Whitlock stated the truck struck his 2001 black Chevy Silverado causing it to hit his RV. Whitlock said he believed the vehicle was occupied by Jeremiah Keen. Whitlock advised he was not able to positively identify him as the occupant of the vehicle. Whitlock said the vehicle then left the scene quickly and traveled west on Nurrenbern Rd.

The white flatbed dually truck matches the description of a vehicle that was stolen in the area from 4301 Hogue Rd. (David Enterprises). A BOLO was put out to law enforcement about the stolen white flatbed dually truck. An officer with the Evansville Police Department located the stolen vehicle traveling east bound on the Lloyd Expressway. The officer attempted to stop the vehicle but the driver failed to stop. The driver led the Evansville Polcie Department and the Vanderburgh County Sheriffs Office on a pursuit which ended in the 15000 block of Old Henderson Rd (Reference 19-19625). The pursuit ended when the driver drove the vehicle into the Ohio River. The driver exited the vehicle and fled from law enforcement by swimming into the river. Perry Township Fire Department, Henderson County Fire Department, Evansville Police Deparment and the Vanderburgh County Sheriff`s Office spent numerous hours on boats and using drones to locate the driver. The driver could not be located. The vehicle was recovered and towed to secure storage by Hamricks Towing. The vehicle was identified as the stolen vehicle from David Enterprises.

While at the Burdette Park camp ground I noticed there were multiple cameras on the bathrooms which face both entrances to the camp ground. I made contact with Zachary Wathen, the assistant director of Burdette Park. Wathen reviewed the camera videos and advised he could see a white flatbed pick up truck with cones in the back drive driving into the camp ground at approximately 0049 hours. Wathen identifed the truck as being a David Enterprises truck. I also viewed small bits of the video and recognized the truck from the camp ground as being the same vehicle which was driven into the Ohio River after the vehicle pursuit.

On 09/07/2019 at approximately 1630 hours, Deputies Carlson, Fein and I arrived at (redacted) to speak with Pamela Hoffman. Hoffman is the aunt of Jeremiah Keens wife, Melissa Keen. Hoffman stated she has been in contact with Jeremiah since 09/05/2019. Hoffman said she even went to Henderson, Kentucky to pick up Jeremiah. Hoffman explained that she had to return property to Jeremiah. Hoffman said she picked Jeremiah up at the library by the courthouse in Henderson. Hoffman advised when she saw Jeremiah he was very sun burnt, had scratches all over his arms and back, and was walking with a bad limp. Hoffman stated Jeremiah told her he had taken womens clothes off a clothes line so he had something to wear. Hoffman said she took Jeremiah to a friend of his house, Christopher Duncan. Hoffman advised when they arrived at Duncans house; Duncan greeted Jeremiah like he hadnt seen him in a long time.

Hoffman advised she spoke with Jeremiah`s mother, Lesa Keen. Hoffman stated Lesa told her she received a call from Jeremiah on the morning of 09/06/2019. Hoffman informed me Lesa said Jeremiah was in a cab which picked him up on a country road and he did not have money to pay for it. Hoffman stated Lesa had to pay for the cab with her credit card. Hoffman informed me on 09/05/2019 Melissa filed a domestic battery report on Whitlock (ref 19-64723). Hoffman stated Jeremiah was present when Melissa filed the report. Hoffman said Jeremiah threatened to get even with Whitlock.

On 09/08/19 at approximately 1345 hours Sgt. King, Deputy Carlson and I went to (redacted) in Henderson, Kentucky. Upon arrival deputies spoke with Christopher Duncan. Duncan advised Pamela Hoffman brought Jeremiah Keen to his residence on Friday morning (09/06/2019). Duncan informed deputies prior to Jeremiah arriving at his residence; he had not seen Jeremiah in several years. Duncan said Jeremiah was wearing gray pants that did not look like pants he would normally wear and did not seem right. Duncan informed deputies Jeremiah stated he took a shirt from Duncan’s building behind his residence. Duncan stated Jeremiah told him he stopped by Duncan’s residence earlier in the day and that is when he took the shirt. Duncan said Jeremiah would have been at his residence between 0900 hours and 1100 hours because that is the only time he was gone that day. Duncan informed deputies Jeremiah advised he drove into Melissas ex-boyfriends truck and RV attempting to knock it down the hill. Reference case numbers 19-64731/19-64732, and crash report number 19-64731. Duncan stated Jeremiah said he then took off. Duncan advised after watching the news, and Jeremiah showing up to his residence in Kentucky, he immediately knew it was Jeremiah that crashed the stolen truck into the river. Duncan explained that he did not want to be around Jeremiah anymore so he took him back to Evansville and dropped him off at Aldi’s on the west side of town with a gray bicycle on 09/07/2019.

On 9/8/19 at 1856 Deputy Ray and Luigs were driving down Tekoppel Rd when a male at the address of (redacted) flagged them down. They stopped at the address and the male advised he was the uncle of Melisa Keen. The man advised his wife was on the phone with Jeremiah Keen. Deputy Luigs and Ray listened to the phone call and could here loud background noise of music and people talking. The call was from a restricted number. Melisa`s aunt advised before they had arrived, Jeremiah Keen made multiple concerning statements. She said while on the phone with Jeremiah Keen, he stated, “everything I have done is for my wife”

Your affiant believes that any person who supplied the above information to your affiant speaks from personal knowledge and observation and are reliable and credible inasmuch as they volunteered information to your affiant in the course of your affiants investigation as a law deputy sheriff.

Your affiant believes there is a factual basis for the above information as your affiants personal observation corroborated said information.

I affirm under the penalties of perjury that the foregoing representations are true to the best of my knowledge.

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(This story was originally published on Nov. 18, 2019)

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