In Dec. 23 Issue
The owner of Russell Springs' popular dry cleaning business, Key Cleaners, was arrested Sunday and charged with manufacturing methamphetamine inside his store, among other charges, according to local authorities.
Greg Stapleton, 41, of Columbia was charged with several felony offenses including manufacturing methamphetamine, fleeing and evading police, and two counts each of wanton endangerment, first degree assault, third degree assault and controlled substance endangerment of a minor.
According to Russell County Sheriff Larry Bennett, the charges stem from an incident Sunday morning which involved Deputies Jason Warriner and Kenny Brown.
Stapleton had been stopped by Liberty Police Casey County in response to a complaint to that agency just after 7 a.m. Sunday. While Liberty Police were conducting their roadside investigation, Stapleton allegedly got into his 2002 BMW car and fled south on U.S. 127 toward Russell County with Liberty Police in pursuit.
During the pursuit, officers lost sight of Stapleton's vehicle.
Moments later, Deputies Warriner and Brown, who were patrolling together, observed the BMW car and when they attempted to stop the vehicle, Stapleton allegedly struck Deputy Warriner's cruiser head-on and continued fleeing, heading back toward Casey County on 127.
Soon after the pursuit crossed into Casey County, contact between the BMW and the cruiser occurred again.
Minutes later, the BMW turned onto a side road near the Dog Walk Market in Dunnville and the chase ended on that street several hundred yards off 127.
As law enforcement officers in Russell and Casey counties continued their investigation a search warrant was obtained for Stapleton's business, Key Cleaners in Russell Springs.
During the search of the dry cleaning store, deputies and officers found a one-step meth lab along with five HCL generators and numerous other precursors used in the meth manufacturing process, according to authorities.
Stapleton is lodged in the Casey County Jail under a long list of charges from both Russell and Casey County authorities. Also charged in connection with the alleged meth lab at Key Cleaners is Bethany Buis, 20, also of Columbia.
Buis is charged with manufacturing methamphetamine and controlled substance endangerment of a minor, according to police reports.
Key Cleaners in the Key Village Shopping Center remains closed while officials try and determine the best method of decontaminating the interior of the store and the inventory of customer's clothing.
Former owner Kenny Catron, who sold the business in 2008, said he was leasing the equipment to Stapleton on a lease-to-own basis and will, along with his father and building owner Steve Branscum, help the authorities try and find a way to get the contaminated clothing back to the rightful owners. Before selling the business in 2008, he and his father ran the business for 25 years, he said.
In addition to Warriner and Brown, other local officers participating in Sunday's investigation and search warrant include Deputies Lee Smith and Nick Bertram, Russell Springs Police Chief Joe M. Irvin and Officers Chasity Shirley and Matt Parrish of the Russell Springs Police Department along with state police meth lab technician Detective Scott Hammond.