News Around the State

Published 12:09 pm Thursday, April 26, 2018

Jury awards $67M to ex-miners who used defective dust masks

HINDMAN, Ky. (AP) — Two former coal miners in Kentucky who claimed defective dust masks led to their debilitating black-lung disease were awarded $67.5 million in damages in their civil lawsuit.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reported Wednesday that a Knott County jury awarded $62.5 million in punitive damages against the mask maker, 3M Co. The remaining amount is to compensate brothers Leslie and Michael Cox for past and future pain and suffering.

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The verdict form says the 3M respirator was defective and unreasonably dangerous.

3M spokeswoman Lori Anderson says the company plans to appeal. An attorney for the brothers declined to comment.

Federal officials said black lung has caused roughly 78,000 deaths since the late 1960s and there has been a resurgence of it in recent years, especially in eastern Kentucky.

Wanted man shot and wounded by police outside Kentucky bar

ERLANGER, Ky. (AP) — Authorities say a man wanted on a drug warrant was shot and wounded by police outside a Kentucky bar.

Kentucky State Police spokesman Trooper Charles Loudermilk tells the Cincinnati Enquirer that 40-year-old Dexter Helton is in critical condition after being shot by Erlanger police Wednesday night.

Loudermilk says Helton fled out the back door of Peecox Bar and Grill and pointed a firearm at pursuing officers. He says it’s unclear how many officers fired their weapons. He says he doesn’t know if Helton fired at officers.

Loudermilk says authorities are examining footage from body cameras worn by two Erlanger officers.

Helton was charged with possession of methamphetamine in January, and an arrest warrant was issued in February.

It’s unclear whether he has a lawyer.

Further details haven’t been released.

2-year-old child dies after being found in swimming pool

ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. (AP) — Officials in Kentucky say a 2-year-old child has died after being found unresponsive in a swimming pool.

Hardin County Sheriff John Ward told The News-Enterprise that the child died Wednesday night after being found earlier in the day in a residential pool in Cecilia. He did not know how the toddler got into the water or how long the child was there before being found.

He said his department has opened a death investigation, which is standard procedure.

Police: Missing Kentucky teen left school, texted for help

BEREA, Ky. (AP) — Authorities say a Kentucky teenager who walked out of school and left with an unknown person messaged a friend to call police.

News outlets cite a release from Berea police that says 15-year-old Amber Renae Wagers left Berea Community School on Wednesday morning and drove off with someone investigators believe she met through social media. Police say she later messaged a friend saying she was possibly being taken to Ohio, and police needed to be called.

Berea police spokesman Jake Reed says police determined Wagers “left on her own free will,” and there’s no threat to the school or its students. He called the case “really concerning.”

Reed says investigators are trying to access Wagers’ social media accounts. She’s listed as a missing person. An Amber Alert hasn’t been issued.

Peabody awarded for investigative piece on lawmaker

LOUSVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting has received a Peabody Award for its podcast about former state Rep. Dan Johnson.

The storytelling award was announced Tuesday for “The Pope’s Long Con,” which the organization said “demonstrates the importance of checks and balances — and of dogged local journalism.”

The report last year about Johnson’s background included an accusation of sexual assault by a woman who attended his church and led lawmakers to call for his resignation.

David Osborne, acting speaker of the Kentucky House of Representative at the time, called the report “compelling and deeply troubling.”

Johnson denied the allegations. He died two days after the report was published in what authorities said was an apparent suicide.

The investigation was one of five winners in its category.

Police fatally shoot man with knives, officer injured

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Police in Kentucky say an officer fatally shot a knife-wielding man inside a home in Louisville.

Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad told media that officers were called Wednesday night due to a disturbance in the home and went inside to find a man armed with multiple knives.

The chief said one officer was injured by a knife, and another officer shot the man.

The man was pronounced dead at University of Louisville Hospital. Jefferson County Coroner Barbra Weakley Jones identified him as 42-year-old Isaac Jackson. She said he had been shot multiple times.

Officials said the officer was treated for minor injuries at the same hospital.

Local media report that this was Louisville’s fourth shooting this month involving police.