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Police: E’town man charged with imprisoning woman

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EPD serves multiple warrants at accused's home

By Sarah Bennett

An Elizabethtown man is in jail after police say he held a woman captive in her own vehicle for 12 hours while he drove at high speeds throughout four counties.

Elijah Lee Cothern, 25, was arrested Sunday morning on Haycraft Street by an Elizabethtown police officer, who served Cothern with multiple arrest warrants.

He faces charges of first-degree unlawful imprisonment, theft by unlawful taking — automobile, fourth-degree assault, second-degree fleeing or evading police and violating parole.

According to Kentucky State Police, Cothern contacted the woman at 8 p.m. April 23 requesting a ride from a location on Shady Lane in Boston and offering to pay her.

Upon her arrival, the woman discovered Cothern pacing and described him as “acting paranoid,” police said. He allegedly told her “he was seeing people in the bushes” and “cussed at her,” according to an arrest warrant.

The woman reported she was scared of Cothern and wanted to leave, police said.

“(The alleged victim) advised that she tried to run away, and he grabbed her from behind and told her he would break her neck,” the warrant reads.

Taking her keys, Cothern forced the woman into her 1996 Chevrolet Cavalier, police said. He drove all night through Hardin, LaRue, Nelson and Bullitt counties.

According to KSP, Cothern drove at “high rates” of speed, believing police were in pursuit.

On Monday, Post 4 spokesman Norman Chaffins reported the woman was held captive in the vehicle for about 12 hours.

The woman, whose name was not released, reported she attempted to escape when Cothern stopped at an unknown location to see a friend, according to the warrant. However, he “assaulted her and threatened her life.”

“Cothern ordered (the woman) back into the vehicle stating if she didn’t, he would kill her,” the document reads.

At another point during the night, Cothern allegedly struck the woman a second time with a frozen water bottle, causing a 1-inch cut on her left check, according to the warrant. Police said the injury required stitches.

When the Cavalier’s fuel tank neared empty, Cothern stopped at his mother’s house in Elizabethtown, police said. Once there, he “allowed his stepfather to drive (the woman) to Hardin Memorial Hospital” for treatment, according to the warrant.

Cothern followed them to the hospital in the woman’s vehicle, police said.

An Elizabethtown police officer attempted to pull over Cothern on March 24 while he was traveling more than 50 mph in a 35-mph zone.

According to a warrant, Cothern turned onto Henon Lane, stopped and fled on foot.

At the time of these alleged offenses, Cothern was on parole and had been released for 10 weeks.

According to the Department of Corrections, he was convicted Nov. 20 in Hardin Circuit Court for third-degree assault involving a law enforcement officer and served his time at Hardin County Detention Center.

Cothern is lodged at the jail in lieu of a $50,000 cash bond. He was arraigned Monday via video feed in Hardin District Court.

First-degree unlawful imprisonment is a Class D felony, which is punishable by one to five years in prison if found guilty, according to Kentucky Revised Statutes.

Sarah Bennett can be reached at (270) 505-1750 or sbennett@thenewsenterprise.com.