A Clay County man who carjacked a Good Samaritan who stopped to help him after a wreck has been sentenced to 32 years in prison.
Timothy Lawson, 31, took part in what a county sheriff called a “crime spree” in July 2016 that included stealing several vehicles and shooting in the direction of a volunteer firefighter helping at a police roadblock that Lawson ran through.
On another occasion, Lawson ran from a house when state police arrived to arrest him and swam across the South Fork of the Kentucky River to escape, according to a court record.
Some residents got so fed up with Lawson that they joined in trying to hunt him down, Clay County’s newspaper, the Manchester Enterprise, reported at the time.
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“I’m not telling you my name, but if I see him he’s dead,” the newspaper quoted one man with a .357-caliber pistol as saying.
Lawson had a criminal record before July 2016 that included charges of assault, theft, burglary and illegal possession of pain pills, but his crimes that month sounded like the stuff of a novel, then-Clay County Sheriff Kevin Johnson said at the time.
Lawson went in the home of an Owsley County woman and waited until she returned, then brandished a stolen shotgun and threatened to kill her if she didn’t give him the keys to her pickup truck, according to a court record.
Lawson fled in the truck, but wrecked it.
A man who was traveling with his mother and son saw the wreck and stopped to help.
Lawson fired a shot over the top of their car with the shotgun, ordered them to get out and stole the car, according to a court document.
The second stolen vehicle developed engine trouble. Lawson, bleeding from a cut on his forehead from when he crashed the first vehicle, flagged down a passerby and took his truck, according to a report from the time.
Over the next few days, he allegedly stole a Toyota 4Runner from a man who was fishing and then burned it, and kicked in the door of a man’s house in Clay County, hit him with a gun, locked him in a closet and stole his pickup truck.
Police caught Lawson more than a week after the initial two carjackings in Owsley County.
Lawson pleaded guilty to using a firearm in crimes of violence.
U.S. District Judge Claria Horn Boom sentenced him on Wednesday.
Lawson will have to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence because there is no parole in the federal court system.