Fayette County

5-county police chase ends in crash; murder charge after homeless man dies

Nathaniel Harper was taken to jail after he was treated at the University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital in Lexington.
Nathaniel Harper was taken to jail after he was treated at the University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital in Lexington. Fayette County Detention Center

A man who led police on a five-county chase has been charged with murder after he lost control of the truck he stole and killed a homeless man in Lexington, authorities said.

Anthony Tyrone Moore, 57, died at 227 Old Georgetown Street near where he was sleeping in bushes prior to being struck, the Fayette County coroner said.

In addition to murder, Nathaniel Harper, 38 of Willisburg, was charged with fleeing, evading police, wanton endangerment, and auto theft after the crash near where Newtown Pike, Maryland Avenue and Old Georgetown Street meet near downtown Lexington, according to Kentucky State Police.

About 2 a.m. Tuesday, the Shelby County sheriff’s office began pursuing Harper, who was in a stolen truck, on Interstate 64 near the Waddy Road (Ky. 395) exit at mile marker 44, police said.

When the pursuit crossed into Franklin County, state police took over, public affairs officer Bernis Napier said.

Harper reached speeds of 100 mph during the chase, Napier said. Officers followed pursuit rules in continuing the chase, he said.

About 25 miles after the chase started, state police put down spike strips near the Georgetown exit in Scott County. The truck’s front tires were damaged, but Harper didn’t stop, Napier said. Harper entered Fayette County and exited on Newtown Pike toward downtown Lexington.

While on Newtown Pike, Harper lost control of the truck, crossed a median and the truck rolled over a couple of times before coming to rest in the yard of a residence.

Harper was pulled from the truck, and Lexington firefighters extinguished flames in the truck.

When moving the truck and clearing debris, police found Moore’s body next to a house. Moore was homeless, Coroner Gary Ginn said.

Harper was transported to University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital, and when he was released, he was taken to the Fayette County Detention Center. Other charges for Harper are pending.

Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.

Mike Stunson: 859-231-1324, @mike_stunson