Good Samaritan stops to help, says his SUV was stolen

A Harlan County man who had wrecked his pickup Sunday allegedly stole the SUV of a man who stopped to help him.

Charges are pending against James Michael Cornett, 37, according to the Kentucky State Police.

Cornett was driving a Ford F-150 pickup on KY 510 in the Big Laurel community when he lost control and hit an embankment about 8:30 p.m.

Before police or emergency workers arrived, Christopher Cornett, 53, who lives nearby, went to the scene to help.

He pulled up behind the wreck in his 2002 Ford Explorer and left the motor running.

Cornett said it was obvious the passenger in the wrecked vehicle, Burley Jackson, 42, was badly hurt, but James Michael Cornett tried to get Jackson to slide over from the passenger seat and claim he had been driving.

It appeared James Michael Cornett, who has several arrests on his record, was impaired by alcohol or drugs, said Christopher Cornett.

Christopher Cornett said that as he pressed a towel to Jackson's jaw to slow the bleeding, James Michael Cornett stole his SUV.

"He just jumped in and tore out of there," Cornett said.

James Michael Cornett abandoned the stolen SUV in Letcher County later Sunday, state police said.

Christopher Cornett said he and the man who allegedly stole his truck are distant relatives, but he didn't immediately recognize him Sunday night.

"If I'd knowed who it was, I would've never turned my back on him," Christopher Cornett said.

Police had not arrested James Michael Cornett as of late Monday afternoon.