Ohio man pleads guilty to trespassing in connection with fatal 'Pope Lick' train incident
David Knee agreed to pay $2,300 in restitution to Norfolk Southern Properties and was ordered to stay away from the railroad at South Pope Lick Road, where he and 24-year-old Roquel Bain snuck onto the tracks on April 23.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- An Ohio tourist who was looking for the mythical Pope Lick Monster with his girlfriend when she was struck and killed on a train trestle has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor criminal trespassing.
David Knee agreed to pay $2,300 in restitution to Norfolk Southern Properties and was ordered to stay away from the railroad at South Pope Lick Road, where he and 26-year-old Roquel Bain snuck onto the tracks on April 23.
A felony charge of "Unauthorized disruption/delay/prevention of the operation of a railroad vehicle with risk of serious physical injury or death" was dismissed at the request of prosecutors on Wednesday.
Knee was sentenced to 90 days in jail, which was conditionally discharged for two years provided he stays out of trouble and follows the conditions of his plea. At the end of the two years, Knee has the opportunity to have the case dismissed and erased from his record.
In a statement through his attorney Brendan Daugherty, Knee said he "and his family are trying to put this horrific tragedy behind them and request privacy at this time. Today's plea was an effort to do that despite what he feels was a lack of compassion from the railroad in initiating these charges."
Daugherty said the plea enabled Knee to "avoid a prolonged defense" of a felony charge and "have the opportunity to completely clear his record in the future."
Knee and Bain entered the property by going around a fence with a posted "No-Trespass" sign, then climbed to the top of the hill, "where another no-trespass sign is clearly posted," according to court records. The couple then began to walk along the track as the train was approaching.
"The engineer of the train executed a rapid stop of the train upon seeing the defendant and his companion on the tracks," according to court records. Knee laid down on the track and avoided being struck. Bain was struck by the train and fell from the trestle. She died at the scene.
The train was stopped for three hours and two other trains were also delayed, according to the warrant.
The pair were searching for the mythical Pope Lick monster, a half-man, half-goat creature rumored to live below the trestle.
Copyright 2016 by WDRB News. All rights reserved.