Ex-police officer who took life had odd history

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 7, 2003

A Lawrence County man who apparently took his own life after a police chase this week is remembered by some as "an average Joe," and by others as a troubled young man who wore a badge and also spent time in prison.

Nathaniel T. Boothe, 26, of Ironton, died Tuesday morning after a police chase and a string of other incidents that included hit and runs, school bus vandalism and an incident involving a gun at the Speedway on Park Avenue.

Boothe had been an intern police dispatcher for the Ironton Police Department before deciding to study law enforcement and become a police officer.

Email newsletter signup

Jim Howard, principal at the Collins Career Center in Getaway, where Boothe studied law enforcement said Boothe was depressed after the felony conviction that ended a career in law enforcement.

''His main goal in life was to become a police officer,'' Howard said.

He joined the Oak Hill Police Department in 1998. "He was just a normal, average, everyday Joe," Oak Hill Police Chief Rob Puckett Said. "I have no idea what happened to him when he left here. Piketon called me and asked if I had had any problems with him. What happened when he went there, I don't know. I hate to hear about it. He was a pretty good officer."

He became the chief of the Piketon Police Department in 1999 at the age of 23. Lt. Mike Davis said Boothe's career came to an end after an investigation revealed he had taken $600 from one of the police department accounts and some drugs, mostly marijuana, from the evidence room. Davis said the allegations of misconduct were out of character for Boothe.

"There weren't any other problems with him, as far as I knew," Davis said.

Boothe pleaded no contest on Jan. 30, 2002, to

two theft charges and was sentenced to a year in prison.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.