LMPD :: Louisville Metro Police Department

Hodgenville police officer killed in chase of suspect


A Hodgenville Police officer died Sunday after being involved in a wreck while chasing a car through LaRue County.

Officer Mark A. Taulbee,43, was pursuing a silver Nissan Altima eastbound on Ky. 210 when he lost control of his vehicle at about 3:40 a.m., a release from the Kentucky State Police said. His cruiser rotated counterclockwise and left the roadway before hitting an embankment and going airborne, the release said.

The chase began when Taulbee spotted the vehicle of a man wanted because of an alleged domestic dispute, Master Trooper Norman Chaffins, public affairs officer with the Kentucky State Police, said.

It appears that speed may have been a factor in the accident, he said.

Taulbee, who was wearing a seat belt, was ejected from the vehicle. He was treated at the scene by LaRue County EMS before being taken to Hardin Memorial Hospital. From there he was flown to University Hospital in Louisville. He was pronounced dead at 6:15 a.m., Jefferson County Deputy Coroner Larry Carroll said. Taulbee's cause of death was multiple blunt force trauma, he said.

Funeral arrangements are pending, Carroll said.

The suspected driver of the Nissan, Jason L. Avis, 29, of Hodgenville, continued on but later turned himself in at the LaRue County Jail, the release said. He has been charged with first-degree wanton endangerment and first-degree fleeing or evading police. Other charges are expected to be filed, the release said.

Taulbee had been with the Hodgenville Police Department for about 13 months and had been a deputy with the Butler County Sheriff's Department for three years before that, the release said. He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth, and two children, Audra, 20, and Austin, 17.

Kentucky State police investigators are reconstructing the accident.