Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Fireman accused of murder in wreck

Charge added in fatal crash on AA Highway

By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

BROOKSVILLE - A Bracken County grand jury has indicted a veteran Covington firefighter on a charge of murder in connection with a fatal wreck on Dec. 30.

Capt. John Scott Rigney, 33, of Park Hills could be sentenced to life in prison if found guilty.

The accident occurred just before 10 p.m. on the AA Highway near Augusta. Kentucky State Police say Edwin M. McDowell, 39, of Dover died when his car crashed head-on into a pickup truck driven by Capt. Rigney.

The Bracken County coroner pronounced Mr. McDowell dead at the scene.

Capt. Rigney was treated at Meadowview Regional Hospital in Maysville and released.

Covington city commissioners are expected to consider discipline for Capt. Rigney at their meeting today. Fire Chief Joe Heringhaus said Capt. Rigney, a 12-year veteran of the department, has not been suspended.

Before the grand jury indictment on Friday, Capt. Rigney had been charged with driving under the influence with aggravating circumstances. He pleaded not guilty to that charge a day after the wreck.

Capt. Rigney's attorney, Harry Hellings of Covington, couldn't be reached for comment Monday.

"We are aware of the indictment and the city attorney is taking a lead on this case," said Chief Heringhaus. "He is compiling evidence to present to the commissioners."

Chief Heringhaus said Capt. Rigney had not been arrested on the murder charge.

Capt. Rigney is scheduled to appear in Bracken Circuit Court on Feb. 28.

Commonwealth Attorney Stockton Wood of Maysville will prosecute the case.

E-mail jhannah@enquirer.com

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