Sunday, December 24, 2000

Kentucky News Briefs

Man charged in 3-car accident and death

        JACKSON, Ky. — A Breathitt County grand jury has indicted a man on charges stemming from a three-vehicle accident that killed a woman earlier this month.

        David S. Graham, 36, of Vancleve, was arrested at his home Friday after the indictment was issued earlier that day. Mr. Graham was indicted on charges of murder, wanton endangerment and driving under the influence.

        Mr. Graham was driving southbound on Ky. 519 in Rowan County Dec. 3 when his car sideswiped another vehicle in the northbound lane, police said. Mr. Graham's vehicle veered back to the right, then crossed the northbound lane, where it was struck on the passenger side by a third car.

        Judy Lockard, 36, also of Vancleve, a passenger in Mr. Graham's vehicle, died in the crash. Mr. Graham was treated for injuries at the University of Kentucky Hospital. He was later found to have a blood-alcohol level of 0.12. Kentucky's legal limit is 0.08.

        Mr. Graham was also indicted for leaving the scene of another accident. He was being held in the Rowan County jail in lieu of a $100,000 bond.

Eateries' immigrants face deportation

        LEXINGTON — Twenty undocumented restaurant workers who are material witnesses in a criminal case against a group of restaurateurs will likely be deported, a U.S. attorney said.

        The 20 workers, all wearing green jumpsuits from the Fayette County jail, appeared in U.S. District Court on Friday.

        “Ultimately, most — if not all — will be deported,” said assistant U.S. attorney David Marye.

        The workers, according to prosecutors, were employed at August Moon and at Ming Garden in Lexington and Florence. Three restaurant owners and four managers face charges of knowingly harboring, employing and transporting illegal immigrants. They also are charged with such acts as forging Social Security cards.

        Aside from the federal charges, the U.S. Department of Labor also is seeking civil penalties against the owners of the three restaurants as well as another in Louisville. The labor agency claims the restaurants violated fair labor practices by paying wages below minimum wage and no overtime, requiring workers to live in substandard housing, and charging workers for broken dishes and unpaid customer meals.

Woman excused for not showing at poll

        LEXINGTON — Charges have been dropped against a woman accused of failing to appear at her post on Election Day.

        Letitia Blythe did not show up at the polls on Nov. 7 because her father died shortly before the election, Fayette County elections coordinator Kitty Ware said.

        The county clerk tried to call Ms. Blythe more than 24 times before the law required reporting the matter to the grand jury. Ms. Blythe was in Louisville, where her father had died.

        “Under the circumstances, she completely forgot,” Ms. Ware said. “I really believe it had not even crossed her mind.”

        Ms. Blythe was charged under a law passed in 1968 that was designed to root out corruption.

        More than 1,000 people serve as poll workers during each Fayette County election, but Ms. Blythe is only the second person to be an unexcused no-show. The last failed to show up in 1992.

Carlisle man's death due to hypothermia

        CARLISLE, Ky. — A Lex ington man found dead in a Nicholas County creek earlier this week died of hypothermia, police and the county coroner said.

        Leon Harris, 38, was found around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday in Scrubgrass Creek about 4 miles east of Carlisle, said Nicholas County Coroner Roy Gaunce Jr. Early results of an autopsy performed Friday by the state medical examiner's office in Frankfort showed that Mr. Harris died of hypothermia, state police said.

        Mr. Harris was lying face up in less than a foot of water when he was found by a teen-ager on an all-terrain vehicle, Mr. Gaunce said. Mr. Harris was wearing three jackets and three pairs of pants, Mr. Gaunce said, but the creek had frozen around his body.

        The coroner could not determine how long Mr. Harris had been in the creek or exactly when he died. It was also not known how Mr. Harris ended up in the creek.

        “This was an isolated area,” Mr. Gaunce said. “The only way we could get back to it was with four-wheel drive.”

        Officials are still investigating the death.

Officers split funds for fighting meth labs

        BENTON, Ky. — Area law enforcement officers on Friday held the first of two meetings to discuss how a $1 million fund for fighting methamphetamine problems will be split.

        U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield helped secure the funds in a federal spending bill this year. More than half is already earmarked — $300,000 to the state police crime lab and $250,000 to meth lab cleanups — with the balance split among law enforcement agencies in the 1st Congressional District.

        Friday's meeting at the Marshall County sheriff's office was with agencies in the Jackson Purchase area, which are in line to receive about $125,000. The amounts given out won't be finalized until other agencies in the district meet next week, said Pennyrile Narcotics Task Force Director Cheyenne Albro.

Minister indicted on counts of sexual abuse

        PADUCAH, Ky. — Marcus Buford, a former church youth minister, was indicted Friday by a McCracken County grand jury on two counts of first-degree sexual abuse.

        The alleged offenses involved one 14-year-old girl and one 16-year-old girl, both members of Concord United Methodist Church at the time, according to the police report. Mr. Buford, 29, was the church's youth minister.

        He was arrested Oct. 6 in McCracken County.

        According to the police report, the incident involving the 14-year-old was estimated to have occurred on Aug. 26. The incident involving the 16-year-old allegedly occurred almost a year earlier.

        Mr. Buford was freed on a $10,000 property bond hours after his arrest.

Police charge suspect in 1997 murder case

        LOUISVILLE — The Louisville police “cold case” squad ended a 1997 gang-related homicide Friday, charging an 18-year-old with murder.

        The suspect is accused of shooting Clinton Lewis, 20, of Louisville, at another teen's birthday party on Sept. 20, 1997, said police spokesman Detective Bill Keeling. The killing was gang-related, he said.

        The suspect's name was not released because he was a juvenile at the time of the alleged offense, Mr. Keeling said. The case will go through juvenile court.


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- Kentucky News Briefs
Tristate A.M. Report