LOCAL NEWS

Monday September 9, 2013

A Leslie County escapee is now behind bars.

Leslie County Sheriff's deputies say they caught 26 year old Ricky Hendrix around 4:00am Saturday.

Hendrix was arrested back in April on multiple charges including burglary and manufacturing methamphetamine.

In May he walked out of the Leslie County Detention Center and had been on the run ever since.

We are told deputies caught up with Hendrix when they received a tip about his possible location.

Deputies say they found Hendrix just off of Leeco Road in Leslie County.

Hendrix is facing multiple charges, including some felony charges.

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Some students in Letcher County had a bumpy ride home Friday afternoon.

Officials say a bus ran into a ditch along Highway 588 at Ice just outside of Whitesburg.

The bus was loaded with students and officials say at least four of them were taken to the hospital, but no serious injuries were reported.

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A Pike County school bus ran off the road and over an embankment also on Friday afternoon.

The accident happened on Stone Coal Road around four o'clock Friday afternoon.

School officials say the driver swerved to miss an oncoming car.

All seven students and the driver were checked by medical officials, and no injuries were reported.

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An apartment building has burned in Big Stone Gap, Virginia.

The Big Stone Gap fire department tells us the fire happened on the corner of Wood Avenue and East 5th Street.

No one was inside the building at the time of the fire.

Firefighters say they made an initial sweep of the building and did not find anyone inside, however they did have reason to believe the old building was not safe and could collapse.

Police say arson has not been ruled out.

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Lawsuits accusing two energy companies of cheating southwest Virginia landowners out of royalty payments for natural gas siphoned from coal seams are headed for a showdown that could dramatically expand the scope of the legal action.

At a hearing in Abingdon, a U.S. district judge will consider a recommendation from a U.S. magistrate judge that four lawsuits be certified as class actions representing thousands of property owners who've had the gas extracted from their land.

The judge isn't expected to rule immediately.

The plaintiffs name EQT Production Co. and CNX Gas Co., companies with thousands of wells in Appalachia.

CNX parent CONSOL Energy said it supports the "fair and efficient" distribution of royalties held in a state escrow account to property owners.

Friday September 6, 2013

A Letcher County woman died of smoke inhalation after her home caught fire early Thursday morning.

66 year old Bettie Jo Fields of Sergent, was pronounced dead at 7:48 a.m. yesterday morning by Letcher County Coroner Marty Baker.

Her body was found after a neighbor leaving for work saw the fire and called 9-1-1 around 7:00am.

Baker said Fields, who lived alone, had been sleeping in the bedroom of her single wide Trailer located near the Thornton Cemetery.

The bedroom was not consumed by the fire.

Baker said blood tests will be conducted to confirm the cause of death.

Kentucky State Police dispatched an arson investigator to the scene of the fire, which Mayking Fire Chief Tony Fugate says is typical when a fire involves a death.

No foul play is suspected.

Funeral services for Bettie Jo Fields will be held at 2:00pm Saturday at Letcher Funeral Home.

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A former Clay County magistrate and two business owners whose convictions in a vote-buying case were overturned last summer have pleaded guilty in a deal that calls for reduced sentences.

The Lexington Herald-Leader said former magistrate Stanley Bowling; and garbage hauling business owners Bart Morris and his wife, Debra, entered the pleas Thursday in federal court in Lexington.

They were convicted in 2010 with five others but released from federal prison after the convictions were overturned.

Under the plea deals, Bart Morris, who was sentenced to 20 years, will be given 5 years, while Bowling's sentence will drop from 15 years and 10 months to 5 years.

Debra Morris was originally sentenced to 10 years. She would not have to return to prison under the new deal.

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State auditors referred the Bell County Clerk's 2011 audit to several other agencies for investigation.

State auditors questioned reports and money on the vehicle transactions and payments.

Auditors also claimed the records were not adequate.

The audit includes responses from Bell County Clerk Becky Blevins who claimed the office does have the proper records required by Kentucky law.

State auditors referred the audit to the Attorney General, Kentucky Department of Revenue, Kentucky Department of Transportation, and the Bell County Attorney.

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A Floyd County man will spend two decades behind bars after he admitted to causing a crash that killed two people.

Officials say James Slone caused a crash that killed his passenger, 43-year-old Karen Mitchell and the driver of the other vehicle, 36-year-old Jeffery Hamilton, in June of 2011.

Slone pleaded guilty earlier this year to two counts of manslaughter, assault and driving under the influence.

Thursday a judge formally sentenced him to 20 years in prison.

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Also a man involved in a Floyd County wreck that killed a Breathitt County woman will spend 20 years in jail.

Officials say James Mace pleaded guilty Tuesday to first degree assault and second degree manslaughter.

The August 2012 crash killed 63 year old Brenda Montgomery.

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Harlan City Police arrested two people accused of dealing drugs in a gas station parking lot.

Police say they received complaints last Friday of drugs in the Exxon parking lot.

Officers say they found a man and woman in a car with a bag full of pills.

Police arrested William Calton and Sarah Egan.

Police say they had 100 percocets and a large amount of cash.

They face several charges including drug possession and Calton has drug trafficking charges.

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An eastern Kentucky man plummeted to the ground in a skydiving accident in Mississippi, and lived to talk about it.

However the journey since the crash in early August has been a hard one for 26-year-old David Meek of Paintsville.

He is finally back close to home in Kentucky and is currently in long term rehab at Cardinal Hill in Lexington.

Thursday September 5, 2013

 

The Letcher County Coroner's Office has confirmed one person has died after a fire near the Mayking community of Letcher County.

Coroner Marty Baker has told WYMT that 66-year-old Bettie Joe Fields died this morning after a single-wide trailer she was in caught fire. Baker's preliminary findings indicated that she died of smoke inhalation.

Kentucky State Police have dispatched an arson investigator to the scene of the fire but no cause of the fire has been determined at this point.

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Family members of a missing Perry County woman are still looking for her one month after she disappeared.

Diana Roberts, 31, was last seen on August 4.

She told her family that she had a doctor's appointment in Ohio and was going with a friend but no one has heard from her since.

She was last seen at a home in the Jamestown Village trailer park on the Knott County-Perry County line.

Anyone with information should call the Kentucky State Police post in Hazard.

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Seven children were removed Wednesday from a Perry County home where deputies said they found methamphetamine and its precursors.

Deputies arrested 40 year old Shannon Hurt.

Hurt also faces several charges including fleeing and evading.

He tried to run from the scene while he was handcuffed.

None of the children removed suffered serious injuries, according to officials at Hazard ARH.

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Four employees of the Letcher County Sheriff ’s Department were laid off Tuesday.

Those cut include a fulltime officer, a part-time officer and two office personnel.

One of the office personnel was a fulltime dispatcher.

The sheriff ’s department is mostly funded by property taxes it collects.

Letcher County Sheriff Danny Webb hope tax bills can be mailed out by October 1 to generate revenue.

After this week’s staff reductions, Webb said the sheriff ’s department now consists of himself, three fulltime deputies, two bailiffs, one administrative lieutenant and one part-time deputy.

All remaining employees have agreed to work fewer hours, said Webb, and each will work 32 hours a week instead of 40.

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A Harlan County man is accused of stealing thousands of dollars worth of items from a truck at a motel.

Harlan City Police arrested 32-year-old Jason Peace on Wednesday afternoon.

Police say surveillance video from the Mount Air Motel shows the suspect and the theft.

Police say the thief stole tools, camping supplies, and other items.

The victim, a man visiting the Off-Road Adventure Park, discovered his items missing the next day.

Police were able to recover all of the stolen items and return it to the owner who lives in Ohio.

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One man was arrested for the recent string of burglaries at car washes in Cumberland in Harlan County.

Cumberland Police say 34-year-old Timothy Shepherd was arrested on Tuesday on warrants regarding the thefts at a car wash on Kingdom Come Drive and the Cumberland Car Wash on Main Street.

Officers say they saw Shepherd and the vehicle matching the surveillance video.

He was taken to the Harlan County Detention Center on theft charges. Bond is $15,000 full cash.

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In West Virginia,  the Mingo County Commission has appointed a new interim sheriff.

The commission at their Wednesday morning meeting appointed Pam Dixon to the position.

Dixon is the chief tax deputy for the department.

Dixon is taking over for Rosie Crum who resigned last month.

Rosie is the widow of Sheriff Eugene Crum, who was murdered earlier this year.

Dixon will serve as interim sheriff until a new sheriff is hired.

Interviews currently being conducted and are expected to be completed by September 18th.

 

Wednesday September 4, 2013

A fire early Tuesday morning here in Letcher County destroyed Hatfield's Hunting and Fishing Supplies and some adjacent buildings just off Highway 15 at Van between Dry Fork and Isom.

Sandlick Fire Chief Chris Sexton says it was a really hot fire that consumed a lot of water trying to put it out.

The fire required the work of four fire departments.

In addition to the building's size, its age, including oil in the flooring treatments, contributed to the heat and difficulty fighting the fire.

No injuries were reported but traffic congested for several hours in that vicinity.

Authorities have not released the cause of the fire.

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Police have arrested a man in Middlesboro after they say he pulled a gun on a young girl during a robbery on Monday.

Officers wrote in an arrest citation that 41-year-old Christopher Brown, also known as Sam Brown, held the gun to the girl and asked her to empty her pockets.

He ran away with a gold necklace.

Police later arrested him on 21st Street and Exeter Avenue.

Brown is charged with robbery and is also wanted in Lee County, Virginia on unrelated charges.

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An eastern Kentucky man will be honored for his accomplishments at a mine competition that happened on August 21st.

Burl Scott was just named to the Coal Mine Rescue Hall of Fame by the National Mining Association.

The Association says he was selected because of his accomplishments and commitment in the field of mine rescue.

The induction ceremony will be September 12th in Columbus Ohio.

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A man is behind bars after police executed a search warrant on his home in Pike County last week.

The Pike County Sheriff's Department had been conducting an investigation for illegal drug activity in the Raccoon Creek area in Pike County.

This led them to serve a search warrant to 70-year-old James Phillip West on Wednesday, where they found illegal guns in his home, as well as ammunition and prescription medication.

Police say the guns are illegal for West to have because he is a felon.

West is being held in the Pike County Detention Center for violating his parole.

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Back to school shopping can be expensive, but you could get a little break next summer if a bill is passed in the next Kentucky General Assembly session.

State Representative Fitz Steele of Hazard has prefiled the Sales Tax Holiday Bill, which means you could buy school supplies and clothes with no sales tax for one weekend each year.

And Representative Steele says it would also help the local economy.  

Tennessee began offering a sales tax holiday several years ago.

He says he has tried for several years to get this legislation passed.

If the bill is passed, the sales tax holiday would be the during the first or second weekend in August.

Tuesday September 3, 2013

Local wrestling star Marty Doyle, better known to his fans as Rock 'n' Roll Marty Gibson, died of a massive heart attack during a performance Saturday night in Cumberland.

Gibson was in his hometown of Cumberland Saturday along with his fellow Traditional Southern Wrestling stars.

The group was holding a fundraiser for the middle school football team.

They were also sharing with kids their Shout Drug Free anti-drug program.

Marty and others were busy outside the ring warming up the crowd when he fell to the ground and was pronounced dead a short time later.

Cumberland Coaches say plans are in the works for a memorial to be painted on the football field, and a memorial service September 14th during the Ray Jenkins Bowl.

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It was a busy holiday weekend in Pikeville at the first ever Hatfield and McCoy Heritage Days Festival.

Unfortunately, a string of car break-ins left many festival goers the victims of theft.

Pikeville Police say a thief was busy on Sunday after they received more than 11 theft reports throughout the day.

Officer Joseph Slone approached a man acting suspicious around 1:30 Monday morning and questioned him.

The office found 22-year-old, Johnathan Pugh, in possession of a stolen cell phone, he then lead the officer to his truck where officials recovered an estimated $10,000 worth of stolen items.

Pugh is being held at the Pike County Detention Center.

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Knox County Coroner Mike Blevins says a 29 year old man is dead after an ATV accident Saturday evening on Moore Creek Road, near the Stinking Creek Community close to Barbourville.

Officials say the man's body wasn't found until Sunday and has been identified at Michael Gambrell.  

His funeral will be Thursday afternoon in Barbourville.

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A fire ripped through the U.S. Post Office in Stopover KY in Pike County, nearly burning it to the ground.

It happened about 1:30 am on Friday.

No one was injured from the blaze.

As to the cause of the incident, there has yet to be an official word.

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She spent time in prison for the death of a school teacher in the 1990s.

Now, a Harlan County woman is in trouble with the law again.

Police arrested 35 year old Alisha Thomas of Wallins early Wednesday morning at the intersection of U.S. 119 and Billy G. Hollow Road.

Officers say they found Thomas sitting in a parked car.

Police say Thomas admitted she had taken Lortab and Xanax.

She was arrested and charged with possesion of a controlled substance and driving under the influence.

Thomas was convicted for her role in the death of retired school teacher Jeanette Gross in a car accident back in 1996.

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One person is dead after a car crash along US 23 in Lee County, Virginia.

Virginia State Police say it happened around 4:00pm Monday afternoon near mile marker 28 on US 23 near Duffield.

They tell us the car ran off the road, hit a culvert, and then overturned.

One person died on scene.

No word right now on what caused the crash or the name of the victim, but the investigation is ongoing.