Owner of truck swept away by water cited for stolen-vehicle report

A truck that was swept away by swift water in Anderson County was found Friday, but the owner who reported the vehicle stolen was cited for filing a false report.

That’s because the owner was driving the truck at the time it went into the water, and he was able to get out safely, Lawrenceburg police said.

Ronnie L. Stratton, 38, acknowledged during a police interview that he had been drinking and driving when swift water overcame the truck as it crossed a bridge on Rice Road, detective Jeremy Cornish said. Stratton told police that a friend picked him up and drove him to his home in Lawrenceburg.

The Ford truck was found sometime shortly after 8:30 a.m. Friday, said Bart Powell, public safety director for Lawrenceburg and Anderson County. The vehicle will remain in the Salt River until the water goes down.

“We learned through the police department that the owner had reported it stolen,” Powell said. “So the police went to the owner’s house and through their investigation determined that the person that was in the truck when it went into the water got out.”

Authorities learned about 11 p.m. Thursday that the truck was swept away while crossing the Salt River about five miles southwest of Lawrenceburg.

Multiple witnesses reported seeing the vehicle swept away, Powell said.

Kentucky State Police and others searched a 3-mile segment of the river downstream from the bridge into early Friday morning. The search, which included a helicopter from Lexington, resumed later Friday.

Salt River is typically dry, but “with this kind of rain, it grows from inches to feet. It’s very swift,” Powell said.

Authorities might try to have Stratton pay for some of the costs related to the hours-long search, Cornish said. Stratton is scheduled to appear in Anderson District Court in August.