Kentucky Archives:

KENTUCKY (BNO NEWS) — Two workers were killed on Friday morning when the truck they were in was crushed by rocks and other material from a wall collapse at a Western Kentucky surface mine, the state government said.

The accident occurred early Friday morning at Armstrong Coal Company’s Equality Mine near Centertown in Ohio County after tons of rock fell from the wall. Emergency crews tried to rescue the men but were unsuccessful, the Kentucky Cabinet of Energy and the Environment said in a statement.

The crew members were identified as 47-year-old Darrel Winstead and 23-year-old Samuel Lindsey. They were both blasters at Mine Equipment and Mill Supply Company.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends affected by today’s tragedy,” Governor Steve Beshea said. ”Mine safety is of paramount importance, and investigative teams will begin work immediately to determine the cause of this accident and whether there are any steps that can be taken to ensure such an accident does not occur again.”

Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Len Peters also expressed his condolences to the families of the two victims. “We will continue our aggressive efforts to ensure a safe working environment for the thousands of men and women who work above and below ground each day,” he added.

The Kentucky Office of Mine Safety and Licensing will conduct interviews to investigate the cause of the accident. Friday’s accident brings the number of mine-related fatalities in Kentucky so far this year to six.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (BNO NEWS) — The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) on Tuesday called on state governments and federal agencies to ban the use of mobile phones by commercial drivers except in an emergency.

The recommendation comes as investigators have concluded their investigation into a deadly accident on Interstate 65 in southern Kentucky on March 26, 2010. The crash left eleven people dead, including three young children.

According to the investigation, a truck-tractor semitrailer combination unit driven by a 45-year-old male departed the left lane of southbound I-65, crossed a 60-foot-wide (18-meter-wide) median, struck and overrode a cable barrier system, entered the northbound travel lanes, and collided head-on with a van carrying 15 family members.

Investigators determined that the driver, who was killed in the crash, used his mobile phone for calls and text messages a total of 69 times while driving in the 24-hour period prior to the accident. The driver made four calls in the minutes leading up to the crash, making the last call at 5:14 a.m. CDT, coinciding with the time that the truck departed the highway.

“Distracted driving is becoming increasingly prevalent, exacerbating the danger we encounter daily on our roadways,” said NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman. “It can be especially lethal when the distracted driver is at the wheel of a vehicle that weighs 40 tons and travels at highway speeds.”

In addition to the driver’s use of a cell phone, investigators also determined that the median barrier system, which had recently been installed following another accident, contributed to the severity of the accident because it was not designed to redirect or contain a vehicle of the truck’s size.

At a meeting in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, the NTSB issued 15 new safety recommendations to all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, and numerous federal agencies such as the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

To all 50 states and D.C., as well as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the NTSB urged a ban on the use of both handheld and hands-free cellular telephones by all commercial driver’s license holders while driving in commercial operations, except in emergencies.

There are currently no federal laws against the use of mobile phones while driving, although a number of U.S. states have passed their own distracted driving bans. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), nine states, D.C. and the Virgin Islands prohibit all drivers from using handheld cell phones while driving.

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SYDNEY (BNO NEWS) — Police in the U.S. state of Kentucky have arrested a 50-year-old man for allegedly strapping a fake bomb to the neck of a teenage girl in Sydney, Australian police announced on Tuesday.

The incident happened on August 3 when a balaclava-clad man entered a multi-million dollar house in Sydney’s exclusive suburb of Mosman and placed a device around the neck of an 18-year-old girl, who was later identified as Madeleine Pulver. After 10 hours, bomb experts determined the device was fake.

New South Wales (NSW) police said agents with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested a 50-year-old man in Louisville, Kentucky, at about 3.25 p.m. local time on Monday (5.25 a.m. on Tuesday in Australia). The FBI agents were assisted by Australian detectives.

NSW police said it contacted the FBI after an investigation led them to identify an individual who left Australia on August 8, five days after the incident, on a flight to the United States. “An arrest warrant was granted by a U.S. judge in Louisville [on Monday],” an Australian police spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said NSW police force detectives are currently in Louisville to assist U.S. authorities with the ongoing legal process. “A court hearing is expected to take place in Louisville at which Australian authorities will lodge an extradition application,” the spokesperson said.

NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione praised its investigative team for carrying out the investigation. “Every day investigators in this organization do the most outstanding job dealing with every level of criminal investigation,” Scipione said.

“This has been a matter that we describe as high profile,” Scipione added. “Police officers are used to this level of exposure and interrogation. People going about their daily lives are not. I have nothing but the highest admiration for the Pulver family for the way in which they have conducted themselves. They have been magnificent.”

In response to the arrest, the Pulver family released a statement to the media. “We are enormously relieved that an arrest has been made in the United States overnight,” Bill and Belinda Pulver said. “These past two weeks have been very difficult for us and we are hopeful that this development marks the beginning of the end of this traumatic ordeal for our family.”

The Pulver family thanked officers and everyone from around the world who offered their support, but said they would not make any further comment in the near future. “I want to again respectfully request that our privacy be considered,” the family said.

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SYDNEY (BNO NEWS) — Police in the U.S. state of Kentucky have arrested a 50-year-old man for allegedly strapping a fake bomb to the neck of a teenage girl in Sydney, Australian police announced on Tuesday.

The incident happened on August 3 when a balaclava-clad man entered a multi-million dollar house in Sydney’s exclusive suburb of Mosman and placed a device around the neck of an 18-year-old girl, who was later identified as Madeleine Pulver. After 10 hours, bomb experts determined the device was fake.

New South Wales (NSW) police said agents with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested a 50-year-old man in Louisville, Kentucky, at about 3.25 p.m. local time on Monday (5.25 a.m. on Tuesday in Australia). The FBI agents were assisted by Australian detectives.

NSW police said it contacted the FBI after an investigation led them to identify an individual who left Australia on August 8, five days after the incident, on a flight to the United States. “An arrest warrant was granted by a U.S. judge in Louisville [on Monday],” an Australian police spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said NSW police force detectives are currently in Louisville to assist U.S. authorities with the ongoing legal process. “A court hearing is expected to take place in Louisville at which Australian authorities will lodge an extradition application,” the spokesperson said.

NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione praised its investigative team for carrying out the investigation. “Every day investigators in this organization do the most outstanding job dealing with every level of criminal investigation,” Scipione said.

“This has been a matter that we describe as high profile,” Scipione added. “Police officers are used to this level of exposure and interrogation. People going about their daily lives are not. I have nothing but the highest admiration for the Pulver family for the way in which they have conducted themselves. They have been magnificent.”

In response to the arrest, the Pulver family released a statement to the media. “We are enormously relieved that an arrest has been made in the United States overnight,” Bill and Belinda Pulver said. “These past two weeks have been very difficult for us and we are hopeful that this development marks the beginning of the end of this traumatic ordeal for our family.”

The Pulver family thanked officers and everyone from around the world who offered their support, but said they would not make any further comment in the near future. “I want to again respectfully request that our privacy be considered,” the family said.

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LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY (BNO NEWS) — Two Iraqi nationals were indicted on federal terrorism charges in Kentucky for their alleged roles in attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq, prosecutors said on Tuesday.

Waad Ramadan Alwan, 30, and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, 23, both currently residing in Bowling Green, Kentucky were arrested and charged in a 23-count indictment on May 26.

Alwan was arrested on May 25 for allegedly carried out many attacks using improvised explosive devices (IEDs) against U.S. troops in Iraq. Hammadi allegedly participated in the insurgency in the Middle Eastern country.

In the indictment, Hammadi was charged with attempting to provide material support to terrorists and to al Qaeda in Iraq, as well as conspiracy to transfer, possess, and export Stinger missiles.

Alwan was charged with conspiracy to kill U.S. nationals abroad; conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction (explosives) against U.S. nationals abroad; distributing information on the manufacture and use of IEDs; attempting to provide material support to terrorists and to al Qaeda in Iraq; as well as conspiracy to transfer, possess, and export Stinger missiles.

The two defendants face a potential sentence of life in prison each if convicted on all charges. The arrests were the result of an extensive investigation that closely monitored the Iraqi nationals for months after they entered the U.S. in 2009.

The FBI used a confidential source who met with Alwan and Hammadi beginning in August 2010 and January 2011 respectively. The conversations were recorded and the two defendants discussed their previous activities in Iraq.

Alwan said that he was an insurgent in Iraq from 2003 until his capture by Iraqi authorities in May 2006. He added that he used to procure explosives and missiles and conducted daily strikes with his insurgent group.

In one recorded conversation, Alwan claimed to have detonated IEDs in Iraq hundreds of times, some of them against U.S. troops and Bradley fighting vehicles. He detailed how to construct the bombs and even drew four diagrams for the FBI source.

The FBI was later able to match Alwan with two latent fingerprints on a component of an unexploded IED that was recovered by U.S. forces near Bayji, Iraq. The defendant previously stated he lived and worked in that area.

On the other hand, Hammadi discussed his prior experience as an insurgent in Iraq and detailed his participation in IED attacks in Iraq. He was arrested in his native country when his car sustained a flat tire after placing an explosive device nearby.

Furthermore, Alwan expressed his desire to the source for providing support to terrorists in Iraq beginning in September 2010. The FBI source offered him to participate in shipping money and weapons to Iraq’s mujahidin.

The defendant allegedly provided money, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, Stinger missiles, C4 plastic explosives and IED diagrams to what he believed where mujahidin and al-Qaeda operatives but instead were delivered to law enforcement as part of the undercover operation.

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FRANKFORT, KENTUCKY (BNO NEWS) — An underground mine worker was killed at a mine in the U.S. state of Kentucky on early Friday morning, officials said.

A statement from Kentucky’s Energy and Environment Cabinet said the accident happened at around 8 a.m. local time at the Czar mine near Bear Water Branch on the Martin – Johnson County line. The mine is being operated by Matrix Energy LLC.

According to investigators from the Kentucky Office of Mine Safety and Licensing (OMSL), preliminary reports indicate that the miner was fatally injured when he was pinned by the boom of a continuous miner. “This is sad and tragic, and our thoughts and prayers are with the family of this miner,” said Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Len Peters.

Peters identified the victim as 54-year-old Robert L. Cook of Inez in Martin County. He was pronounced dead at the scene by Martin County coroner Joe Mullins.

“We must continue our efforts as regulators and companies to ensure a safe working environment for the thousands of men and women who work above and below ground each day to provide this energy resource to the Commonwealth,” Peters added.

Friday’s fatality is the first mine fatality in Kentucky in 2011.

Last year, on April 5, a total of 29 miners were killed after an explosion at the Upper Big Branch coal mine in Raleigh County, West Virginia. It was the worst mine disaster in the United States since 1970 when 38 miners were killed in Hyden, Kentucky.

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EDMONTON, KENTUCKY (BNO NEWS) — A 15-year-old teenager has been charged with murdering his guardians at their home in southern Kentucky on Tuesday, state police said on Wednesday. His 12-year-old girlfriend, with whom he fled police, has been released.

Kentucky State Police spokesman Billy Gregory said 12-year-old Kyra Shockley was first reported missing by her parents to Edmonton Police at approximately 4 a.m. local time on Tuesday. They said they believed she was in the company with her 15-year-old boyfriend, who was identified as Christopher Endicott.

The search for the missing juveniles led police to the residence of Endicott’s legal guardians, 50-year-old Gary Holloway and 51-year-old Barbara Holloway, 6 miles (9.6 kilometers) east of Edmonton. They had been given custody of Endicott in January.

Law enforcement officers made repeated trips to the Holloway residence but were unable to make contact with the couple or the missing juveniles. Later, shortly after 2.30 p.m. local time, a family member of the Holloways entered their residence and discovered that both were deceased and no one else was in the residence. The couple’s vehicle, a 1997 Chevy Lumina was also missing.

Kentucky State Police Troopers and Detectives were dispatched to the scene at 2.46 p.m. local time and, upon arrival, initiated a death investigation. Several hours later, at 5.58 p.m. local time, an Amber Alert was issued for Shockley and Endicott.

Later that evening, Kentucky State Police received information from a local firefighter that he was behind the missing Chevy Lumina vehicle on Highway 90. They responded and attempted to make a traffic stop, after which a short pursuit ensued and Endicott drove off the roadway and through a fence. Shockley and Endicott were taken into custody after a short foot chase.

According to Gregory, Endicott has now been charged in the murders of the Holloways and has been lodged in the Adair County Youth Development Center. The 15-year-old has also been charged with Fleeing and Evading Police with a Motor Vehicle in the 1st Degree, Wanton Endangerment 1st Degree, Reckless Driving, No Operator’s License and Criminal Mischief 3rd Degree.

Meanwhile, Shockley has been released to a parent although it remains unclear how and if she was involved in the double homicide of the Holloways. “The investigation is ongoing and more charges could be forth coming pending a Grand Jury hearing,” Gregory said.

Ginger Shive, the mother of Shockley, earlier said the teenagers had been dating for about three months. “He’s 15, he’s been in a lot of trouble.[But] he’s a good kid down deep,” Shive told WBKO-TV on late Tuesday, but added: “I did not like [their relationship] at all.”

Both Shockley and Endicott have profiles on the social networking website MySpace, where Shockley listed her username as “Kyra&Chris”. Shockley listed her age as 17, however, while Endicott’s age showed 26. It is not known if they met online.

Kentucky State Police have also not said how the Holloways were killed.

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EDMONTON, KENTUCKY (BNO NEWS) — Police have safely recovered a boy and a girl after the boy’s guardians were found dead in southern Kentucky on Tuesday, state police said on early Wednesday. It remains unclear if they were involved in their deaths.

Kentucky State Police spokesman Billy Gregory said 12-year-old Kyra Shockley and 15-year-old Christopher Endicott were reported missing after Endicott’s guardians were found deceased at their residence in Metcalfe County on Tuesday. The victims had been given custody of Endicott in January, but were not related to Shockley.

“We are not sure if it was a double homicide or a homicide-suicide or what it was. That is still kind of up in the air for us right now. We don’t have a lot of facts,” Gregory said, adding that the cause of death was not yet established. He said their first concern is the well-being of the children.

An Amber Alert was issued for the children soon after the couple was found dead, and a local firefighter later recognized the vehicle being sought in connection with the case. Gregory said the firefighter followed the vehicle until a traffic stop could be made by police, who found the children inside the vehicle. No one else was with them.

The spokesman said Shockley and Endicott were not related to each other, but it remains unclear if they were involved in the deaths. “We are treating them as victims and then we’ll see what the investigation reveals but at this point we are looking at every possible scenario,” Gregory said.

The spokesman did not know how the children knew each other, but both Shockley and Endicott have profiles on the social networking website MySpace, where Shockley listed her username as “Kyra&Chris”, indicating they may be or have been in a relationship. Shockley listed her age as 17, however, while Endicott’s age showed 26. The photos on the MySpace pages matched those released by police.

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MAYFIELD, KENTUCKY (BNO NEWS) — The bodies of three Amish children were found early Friday morning a few miles from where they were crossing a low water stream in Kentucky, and one remains missing, local media reported.

The incident occurred in Graves County, located in the southwestern region of Kentucky, when according to local authorities, 9 people from two families were crossing a low water stream on Roscoe Road just west of the Dublin community at around 8:30 p.m. local time, KFVS reported.

During the crossing, high waters swept away the children, who were aboard a horse-drawn buggy. Authorities have not released any further details or the names of the children.

However, the children are said to be aged from 5 months to 11 years old. The Graves County sheriff said the 11-year-old child remains missing.

The bodies were found in Hickman County, a few miles from where the incident occurred.

As the search for the missing child continues, flood waters have begun receding as rainfall in the area came to a stop.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (BNO NEWS) — The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) celebrated the completion of an airfield upgrade at Georgetown-Scott County Regional Airport in Kentucky, paid for with $3 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds.

Recovery Act funds provided the full cost of repaving Georgetown-Scott County Regional Airport’s 5,500 foot-long runway. The runway had deteriorated and had not been fully repaved in nearly 17 years.

The construction also included the widening of the ends of the parallel taxiway, which will now be able to accommodate larger aircraft turning on and off the runway.

“Airport Recovery Act projects are helping boost local economies all across the country,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “The Recovery Act is helping us keep our runways safe and well maintained.”

“General aviation is incredibly important to local communities nationwide and the Recovery Act is funding necessary safety improvements and upgrades that otherwise might not get done,” said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt.

Nationwide, $1.3 billion in Recovery Act money has been made available for both airport improvement projects and air traffic control facility and system upgrades. Because of low construction bids for projects, more Recovery Act dollars were available for additional facilities and equipment as well as airport projects.

These Recovery Act grants have been distributed to airports that serve commercial passengers, cargo and general aviation.

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