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Bus driver arrested at festival

WEST LIBERTY – A Magoffin County Schools bus driver was arrested at a Sorghum Festival event on Saturday and is now charged in a felony case.
According to the arrest citation, on October 2, 2021, Morgan County Sheriff Department was dispatched to Fair Ground Road at approximately 10 p.m. regarding a subjected allegedly under the influence and attempting to fight a 15-year-old juvenile.

As police approached the scene, more pedestrians advised law enforcement that a man had reportedly pulled a firearm out and was waving it around.

According to the citation, police found Jeffery Watkins, 56, of Lakeville Road, in Salyersville, in a four-door vehicle with the window rolled halfway up. After attempting to make contact with Watkins numerous times, he finally complied by showing his hands through the window, according to the police report.

Once Watkins was taken out of the vehicle, police asked him where his firearm was, and he told them in the middle console of the vehicle. Once the firearm was located, police talked to Watkins, who told them a young juvenile came over to his vehicle and got in his face over an unknown matter, according to the citation.

Police noted in their records that Watkins reportedly had glassy, bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, and an unsteady walk. Watkins told police he had consumed one alcoholic beverage.

After talking to Watkins, police interviewed the juvenile, who stated he and Watkins’ wife were in a disagreement at the concession stands and she reportedly got in his face. When she went back to the vehicle with Watkins, the juvenile said he told his aunt and uncle what had happened and pointed at her, according to the police report.

Allegedly, Watkins jumped off the back of his vehicle and aggressively approached him, screaming profanity at him and making threats. During this time, three other people attempted to deescalate the situation and pull him back to the vehicle, according to the juvenile’s statements made to police.

A witness told police she observed Watkins pill a firearm out of his pocket and, when doing so, the firearm was waived, pointing at the crowd of people, as well as her. As he did this, the witness said his wife begged him to calm down and put up the firearm.

A second witness reported to police she saw Watkins aggressively go back to his vehicle, but that was all she had seen.

A third witness told police someone in the crowd screamed to call 911, and that he saw Watkins reach into his pocket to grab an unknown item and, when doing so the witness noticed Watkins watching him. After this, he said Watkins’ wife showed up and begged him to get back in the vehicle.

Police also reported that his wife told law enforcement she tried to beg Watkins to listen to her and not confront the juvenile, but he refused to listen. She said he continued to grab something out of his vehicle, but she did not know what he was grabbing. She told police she knew he had a firearm, but did not know where.

Watkins allegedly yelled and used profanity towards police while being placed under arrest, with police noting in the citation that they were in an area where a crowd was located.

Watkins was arrested and taken to the Rowan County Detention Center, where he was released from on Tuesday on a full cash bond of $5,000, according to jail records.

Watkins is currently charged with first-degree wanton endangerment, second-degree disorderly conduct, alcohol intoxication in a public place (1st and 2nd offense), and menacing, in Morgan County District Court, where he is slated for a preliminary hearing for October 19 in the felony case.

Magoffin County Schools did confirm that he was a bus driver for the district and is currently suspended on unpaid leave, pending court proceedings.

Editor’s Note: The indictment or charge of a person by a grand jury or otherwise is an accusation only and that person is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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