Parent arrested at Martha Elementary

March 6, 2019

BARBOURSVILLE — The father of two Martha Elementary School students was arrested at the school Monday after police said he requested to sign out his children, along with two additional students, while apparently under the influence of some substance.

He also urinated on the school’s flagpole, damaged the principal’s car and spit on an arresting officer, police said.

Zachary Donovan Keaton, 28, of Barboursville, is facing charges of child neglect creating risk of bodily injury, battery on a police officer, obstruction, disorderly conduct, destruction of property and indecent exposure, all misdemeanors, according to criminal complaints filed in Cabell County Magistrate Court.

Police said the incident happened around Keaton noon when Keaton came to Martha and signed out his two children to take them home. He took the children outside and placed them in Principal Boyd Mynes’ unlocked car, which was nearby on the school’s property, according to the complaints.

He then came back into the school and asked for two more students, whom he was not authorized to withdraw, said Jedd Flowers, communications director for Cabell County Schools. Those students were never pulled from class.

Mynes stated Keaton was “not in his right state of mind” and contacted the Cabell County Sheriff’s Department after getting his children away from him and back into the school, according to the complaints.

At some point, police said Keaton ripped off two pieces of trim along the steering column of Mynes’ car, causing approximately $250 in damages. Keaton also exposed his genitals and urinated on the school’s flag pole — acts witnessed by Mynes, according to the complaints.

After deputies arrived, Keaton began “talking out of his head, stating that he was ‘Santa Claus’ and was not making any sense at all,” according to the complaints. While rambling, he allegedly told deputies he had taken methamphetamine and marijuana.

Keaton then became boisterous and started screaming, causing alarm to school staff, according to the complaints.

Deputies said they attempted to place Keaton in custody, but he pulled away and took an aggressive stance. He allegedly refused to follow multiple commands and spit on a West Virginia State Police trooper’s uniform and tie.

Keaton was arraigned before Cabell County Magistrate Danne Vance and was being held Monday in Western Regional Jail. Bond was $50,000 cash-only.

Martha was placed on lockdown during the incident. Flowers said Martha staff followed protocol perfectly and the lockdown was lifted around 12:15 p.m.

This is not the first time police have encountered Keaton. On Feb. 7, police said Keaton was naked when he walked into an apartment in the 1700 block of U.S. 60. He allegedly left the residence and began walking down U.S. 60. He was subdued by officers and taken into custody after he allegedly swung at them once they approached him. He was charged with assault on a police officer, indecent exposure, disorderly conduct and obstruction.