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Dentist faces 61 charges

   July 2, 2003 — A local dentist has been arraigned on 61 charges in connection with a June 12 incident allegedly involving firearms.
    Dr. Tyler Jason Higbee, 33, of 7458 Culver Highway, faces 60 counts of reckless endangering and a single count of disorderly conduct, class A and B misdemeanors, respectively. Each reckless endangering charge carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison.
    Officers with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Culver Police Department and State Police responded to his home just outside of Culver around 11:15 p.m. on June 12 after receiving more than 25 911 calls complaining of shots fired.
    According to court papers, Higbee allegedly fired roughly 60 rounds from an automatic weapon and a shotgun during a party at his home. Each reckless endangering charge corresponds to a shot fired.
    Officers responding to the incident couldn’t get past his locked gate, and chose not to arrest him after two minor females leaving the residence said nobody inside was in danger.
    “In normal circumstances, I would have wanted to go into the house to make sure everyone was alive,” said Sheriff’s Detective Starla Green, who responded to the shots.
    Green said Higbee and others at the residence were intoxicated.
    Higbee refused to speak with officers at the scene and was advised to make a phone call to authorities, police reports said. He turned himself in to the Sheriff’s Office on June 13, where he was cited and released.
    “We had determined to back off and wait because the witnesses said everything was OK in the house and he was just messing around,” said Sgt. Jim Adkins, the citing officer.
    Deputies have revoked Higbee’s handgun permit pending the outcome of his criminal case.
    In court last week, Higbee pleaded innocent to the 61 charges and was granted a conditional release to avoid jail time on the condition he does not consume alcohol.
    He is scheduled to appear in Jefferson County Circuit Court for a pretrial conference at 10 a.m. August 7.