By JOSH NEWTON
Three people are facing charges after a driver who led authorities on a high-speed pursuit in January allegedly got help in trying to avoid arrest.
Brandon Kirk Hembree, 24, allegedly led Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Kane Wyatt on a high-speed pursuit that started in the Keys area on State Highway 82.
Wyatt said he stopped a truck near Indian Road in Keys at about 4:30 p.m. Jan. 19. As Wyatt approached the driver’s side of the vehicle, he saw a man behind the wheel. The driver – later identified as Brandon Hembree – then sped off and led Wyatt on a high-speed chase that topped 100 mph at times.
Wyatt said the driver swerved at him during the pursuit, when Wyatt began to perform a “pit” maneuver on the fleeing vehicle. Wyatt said the vehicle later disappeared in a cloud of dust on 830 Road.
Cherokee County sheriff’s deputies later spotted the vehicle and conducted a traffic stop. The driver, 24-year-old Ashley D. Ishcomer, said she had been behind the wheel for more than an hour.
Wyatt said he informed Ishcomer that by saying she was the driver, she was admitting to eluding the trooper during the pursuit. Ishcomer allegedly maintained her story and was arrested. After she was booked in at the Cherokee County Detention Center, Ishcomer stopped Wyatt and reportedly told him she wanted to tell the truth.
Ishcomer allegedly said she got a “friend” – later identified as Alisha Jon Hembree, Brandon Hembree’s mother – to take Ishcomer and her 3-year-old child to meet up with Brandon Hembree after Alisha Hembree heard scanner traffic about the pursuit.
Ishcomer said she later met Brandon Hembree, and he gave her his stocking cap and shirt so she would appear the same way he was dressed during the pursuit.
She was then to take the vehicle Brandon Hembree had been driving back to his mother’s home. Ishcomer said she was told to tell police she was driving the vehicle if she was caught, and that Alisha Hembree would bond her out of jail.
Brandon Hembree then got into a vehicle with his mother and Ishcomer’s 3-year-old child. Alisha Hembree allegedly told Ishcomer she was taking her son to Fort Gibson to hide out at another friend’s house, and then she would then return with Ishcomer’s 3-year-old.
But at about 9:50 p.m. that night, Wyatt said, Fort Gibson police made contact with Brandon and Alisha Hembree at the Cherokee Casino.
Both were arrested on child-endangerment charges for allegedly leaving Ishcomer’s 3-year-old child in a vehicle while they went into the casino.
Brandon and Alisha Hembree are both facing felony child abuse charges in Muskogee County court. Brandon is also charged in Cherokee County with eluding/endangering another; Alisha Hembree and Ishcomer each are facing charges of harboring a fugitive.
The arrest of Brandon Hembree on Jan. 19 was less than a month after he allegedly fled police in Tahlequah and crashed, causing himself and others to be injured. He is facing charges of eluding or attempting to elude police, driving while under the influence of alcohol and drugs, and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia for his December arrest.