Fayette jail inmate was mistakenly released, officials say

Rodney Bell had an outstanding federal warrant for possessing cocaine.
Rodney Bell had an outstanding federal warrant for possessing cocaine.

A Fayette County jail inmate who is considered armed and dangerous by federal authorities was mistakenly released Friday. The error was discovered Monday.

Rodney Dewayne Bell, 28, was transferred from the Shelby County Detention Center to the Fayette County jail on Friday.

He was "released in error due to a miscommunication in the transfer documents" the same day, according to a news release from the city's Department of Public Safety.

Capt. Darrin Kelly, acting spokesman for the jail, said he could not elaborate on the paperwork error. He said officials were investigating to determine whether "our staff violated release procedures ... and address it from there."

Bell was brought to Lexington on a warrant for contempt of court with a $1,000 bond. He was released after the bond was paid. Bell was ticketed for leaving his vehicle running unattended earlier this year. According to court documents, he failed to pay the fine or appear at a Feb. 11 arraignment.

Officials learned Monday that Bell was being held in Shelby County on a federal hold by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which considers him "armed and dangerous," the news release said.

George Huffman, a spokesman for the ATF division in Louisville, confirmed there was a federal warrant out for Bell but said he could not reveal the charges because the warrant hadn't been served or filed in court.

The U.S. Marshal's Office for the Eastern District of Kentucky, the sheriff's department and Lexington police have been notified of the mistake, and a warrant was issued for Bell's arrest.

Bell has had several felony charges in Lexington during the past several years, although most have been dismissed.

He filed a personal injury lawsuit against the city and police officers last year after a wreck involving a police cruiser. Court records indicate the case was dismissed in November.

How to help

If you have seen this man contact Lexington police at (859) 258-3600 or the Office of the Fayette County Sheriff at (859) 252-1771.