Williamson Police Chief Dave Rockel said his department has endured a rough few weeks.

MetroNews photo

Jefferson “Jeff” Taylor III was found dead in his parents’ Kentucky home on Monday, days after the Williamson police officer was suspended for DUI and leaving the scene of an accident.

“We’ve sure had our share of tragedy here in Mingo County,” Rockel said. “It’s like a dark cloud is over us.”

Rockel is bewildered at the most recent tragedy. Officer Jefferson Taylor III, 27, was found dead Monday in his parents’ home in Pike County, Ky. 

Taylor was on suspension from the Williamson Police Department for DUI and leaving the scene of an accident in Pike County recently. Rockel said it’s difficult to say what kind of demons Taylor was battling, but that his recent incident was the only blemish on an otherwise clean record.

Taylor’s death is under investigation by Kentucky State Police. Rockel said he expects an autopsy to offer more clues into what happened.

“I guess his sister came home to the residence where he was staying, their parents’ home,” Rockel said. “He was unresponsive. She called 911 and tried to do CPR.”

Taylor’s death was the second high-profile loss to the county’s law enforcement community. Sheriff Eugene Crum was shot dead in his cruiser in Williamson last month, a case in which Rockel was also directly involved. 

“Instead of promoting good things, it just seems like bad things keep happening here,” he said.

Rockel said his department is mourning Taylor’s death and trying to make sense of the officer’s final two weeks.

“Jeff was a real good police officer,” Rockel said. “I was real proud of him. He did good reports, he had a good rapport with the public. He was a model officer — he really was.”

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  • Cary

    Some people are not worth our time and energy. I can only pray for you all and hope that you are loved so much by everyone around you that you are so ignorant of your own faults therefor seeking them in others.
    Rip Jefferson
    We hope your in heaven laughing that great laugh of yours and shaking hands with your mentors. All of us that knew you knew how hard you were taking the loss of your sheriff and how much you loved your job. The car was a freak accident we know that. Big hugs to everyone that had the pleasure of knowing this fine young man.

  • Cary

    Jeff was a hard worker. What this article leaves out is that he had lost his father. He moved away and then back to his roots. He wanted to be honorable. Becoming a police officer is all this kid wanted to do. He was noble and would have gladly laid his life down for you. If you would take the time to read the other articles or any police reports you would know that he just had gotten cut and other injuries while on the job.
    Grief is an awesome force. Before you speak evil of our friend and loved one put yourself in their shoes.
    Will love you Jefferson and we will miss you always. Until we meet again our friend. XOXO

  • Ron

    I know this young man and watched him grow up. There is more to the story than you can imagine. He was at his parents' house where there was not an alcoholic beverage to be found. He had not been out partying he had been asleep on their couch. Before you believe everything you read, please consider those he left behind.

  • Jim G.


    Not judging here but police officers are held (and should be) to a higher standard.

  • Drema

    Jeff was a great person, who stumbled and slipped like any other human. No one can question what type of guy he was if you didn't even know him! John and Larry did you know that a lot of the Police officers have had some of their own legal issues? No, thats because when you live in a small town everyone finds out when you make a stupid and spare of the moment decisions! No one is perfect, and everyone makes their share of mistakes! So please do not judge someone you do not know, because you wouldn't want someone to judge you just by pointing out your mistakes would you? I didn't think so!

    • Larry

      I'm not judging, but when a police officer is driving drunk and leaving the scene of an accident, I am almost sure there were previous warning signs that he had problems, his superiors either couldn't see that, or didn't care.

  • john

    Model Officer with a DUI and leaving the scene of an accident?

    • Larry

      That's what I was thinking, I suspect the Williamson PD may have some very questionable leadership.

      • Larry

        Larry Trouts
        Compton, CA

      • JT

        LOL @ Nick! You couldn't fight your way out of a wet paper bag! Don't worry Larry, Nick isn't going to "come get you". I'm sure he can't even find his way out of Ohio!

    • Dale

      Don't be a Hippocrit ,one mistake dosent make you a bad guy.

      • Larry

        What about two bad choices, driving drunk, and leaving the scene of an accident? There is a difference between a mistake and a poor choice.