Crooks Indicted for Murder, Faces More Charges
By Bill Hughes
PADUCAH, KY - A McCracken County Grand Jury has indicted a man for murder and criminal mischief, related to a deadly crash last year. But he's already in jail, facing charges related to selling drugs and trespassing.
In the early-morning hours of February 28, 2012, 36-year-old Shane Crooks was was driving a vehicle that flipped several times on John Puryear Drive near Old Husbands Road. He was trapped in the car for approximately five hours before freeing himself and contacting police. His passenger, 30-year-old David Wilhelm was thrown from the vehicle and later died. He was not wearing a seatbelt.
Commonwealth Attorney Dan Boaz told the Paducah Sun that Crooks was indicted after tests showed that drugs were in his system at the time of the crash. A warrant was issued for his arrest, and bond was set at $25,000. Boaz said the murder charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years to life, and the criminal mischief charge carries a sentence of 1-5 years.
Crooks is currently in McCracken County Jail. Sheriff Jon Hayden said Crooks allegedly broke a window to gain entry of a home on Husbands Road, and was arrested on warrants for 3rd degree criminal mischief and 1st degree criminal trespassing. Hayden also said Crooks will be sentenced May 1 after apparently pleading guilty to trafficking in a controlled substance.
These charges are the latest in a lifetime of court appearances for Crooks, whose record goes back to 1995, when he was convicted for public intoxication at the age of 19. He has convictions in Livingston, Graves, Lyon, and McCracken County, mostly for DUI, alcohol intoxication, or traffic violations. He has also faced contempt of court charges for failing to appear in court for previous crimes.
Hayden said it can be frustrating for law enforcement to continually deal with the same offenders. He said everyone deserves a second, third, or maybe even a fourth chance to better themselves or overcome addictions, but there are some who see the leniency of the court as a chance to continue their criminal lifestyle. Hayden said at some point the public expects the judicial system to protect them from career criminals.