News Around the State

Published 11:15 am Monday, June 24, 2019

Website seeks public’s help to ID suspects in unsolved cases

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky police department has launched a website to seek the public’s help in identifying suspects in unsolved cases.

A statement from the Lexington Police Department says the site, , has surveillance images of people suspected of criminal activity whom police haven’t been able to identify.

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Chief Lawrence Weathers says the site allows the public to see some photographic evidence in cases and submit tips directly to detectives.

A majority of the cases on the site will be shoplifting and other thefts, which are the most common criminal activity in Lexington.

Police will update the site frequently and will continue to highlight significant or noteworthy cases on social media.

Kentucky city hires consultant to find recycling solutions

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky city has hired a consultant to try to find solutions for its recycling program.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports Lexington stopped recycling all paper products last month. Then the recycling center was closed for almost a week this month after an aluminum sorting machine broke down.

Mayor Linda Gorton said the recycling center is outdated and doesn’t meet the city’s needs. Gorton says like other residents, she feels like she’s doing something wrong when she puts a piece of paper into a trash can.

Lexington hired Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Resource Recycling Systems to analyze potential solutions. According to a contract approved by the council in May, the company will be paid up to $224,855 for its report.

Kentucky court security officer charged in fatal ATV crash

MONTEREY, Ky. (AP) — Authorities say a Kentucky court security officer has been arrested after a passenger on an ATV he was driving died in a crash.

Kentucky State Trooper Steven Dykes says in a news release 43-year-old Mario Chavez-Canela of Monterey was arrested in Owen County on Friday on charges of second-degree assault and operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

It wasn’t immediately known whether Chavez-Canela has an attorney.

The statement says 73-year-old passenger Patricia Karsner of Owenton was pronounced dead at a hospital.

The Owen County Sheriff’s Office requested that state police take over the investigation.

The State Journal reports Chavez-Canela had rejoined the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office as a security officer earlier this year. He had been fired in August 2016 by a previous sheriff after a DUI arrest in Shelby County.

2 injured in small plane crash at airport

VINE GROVE, Ky. (AP) — Two people were injured when a small plane crashed in Kentucky.

News reports cite a statement from the Vine Grove Police Department saying a single-engine aircraft crashed Sunday evening at the Vine Grove Airport.

Police said two people on board were injured and taken to a hospital for treatment. Police did not release their names or any updates on their conditions.

A man who lives near the airport told The News-Enterprise he was the first on the scene and called emergency crews. Jeff Lincoln said the plane clipped a tree and stalled before crashing.

Drug crackdown in northern Kentucky town nets indictments

DAYTON, Ky. (AP) — Authorities say more than 20 people were indicated after a six-month investigation into drug trafficking in a northern Kentucky community.

Media outlets report that authorities seized fentanyl, meth, cocaine and more drugs and firearms as part of the crackdown in Dayton.

The Northern Kentucky Drug Strike Force began the operation — called Operation River Sweep — in January. The strike force is made up of narcotics officers from the region.

Dayton Police Chief David Halfhill says the community doesn’t have major drug dealers. He says the users he does see often travel to Covington or Cincinnati for drugs and sell among themselves.

Bourbon barrel recovery underway at storm-damaged warehouse

OWENSBORO, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky distillery says efforts are underway to recover thousands of barrels of bourbon at a massive storage warehouse that partially collapsed during a thunderstorm.

O.Z. Tyler Distillery in Owensboro said a section of the warehouse has been “successfully deconstructed” and the painstaking process of recovering barrels is moving ahead as part of an overall plan to eventually take down the entire building, called a rickhouse.

Distillery officials say the warehouse cannot be salvaged.

“We are very pleased with the progress moving into the weekend and realize it will take some time to remove all barrels from the site, but our first concern, and priority, is safety,” master distiller Jacob Call said in an update posted on the distillery’s website.

The deconstruction plan calls for a “controlled collapse” of the entire warehouse at some point, Call said.

No one was injured when part of the rickhouse collapsed early Monday. The distillery said “minimal leakage” of bourbon has been reported.

The distillery said 19,400 barrels were aging in the warehouse, including about 4,500 barrels in the storm-damaged section.

Barrels are being plucked from the warehouse with the use of an “ultra-high reach demolition excavator,” the distillery said.

Damaged barrels will be either repaired or disposed of, and the bourbon will be “re-barreled” and moved to storage, it added.

O.Z. Tyler officials have been meeting daily with representatives of the federal Environmental Protection Agency as well as state and local officials.

Containment measures include an earthen berm around the warehouse, the distillery said. Chain link fencing and temporary concrete barricades are in place to secure the site, it said.

Another Kentucky bourbon barrel warehouse collapsed last year. Half of a warehouse collapsed at the Barton 1792 Distillery in Bardstown on June 22, 2018, and the other half came down two weeks later.

Kentucky fugitive arrested in Ohio

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A man who failed to appear in a Kentucky court on kidnapping and other federal charges has been captured in Ohio.

FBI spokesman Timothy Beam in Louisville says in a news release that Bryan Douglas Conley was caught Saturday in Ada, Ohio.

News outlets report Conley was originally arrested in January in Leitchfield, Kentucky, and was released while awaiting trial on charges that he kidnapped a Brentwood, Tennessee, woman and demanded a ransom from her parents.

The FBI says Conley removed an electronic monitoring device from his ankle on Interstate 65 near Smiths Grove on Friday and failed to appear in federal court on a superseding indictment.

The indictment charges Conley with kidnapping, bank fraud, aggravated identity theft, and additional counts of interstate threatening communications.

Council considers disbanding youth detention services

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky’s top justice official says the state is ready to take charge of Jefferson County juveniles charged with crimes if local officials decide to stop running Louisville Metro Youth Detention Services.

State Justice Secretary John Tilley told news outlets that the state can’t operate a local detention center. Youths being held on charges instead of being released pending trial would likely be transferred to one of six regional juvenile detention centers elsewhere in Kentucky, he said.

“We simply cannot operate the facility,” Tilley told the Courier Journal in an interview. “We would be forced to find placement for Louisville youths outside the Greater Louisville area. We have no choice.”

Tilley’s comments come as Louisville Metro Council is considering whether to disband its youth detention services and hand over the job to the state Juvenile Justice Department as a cost-savings measure.

The council estimates it can save about $2.4 million in six months beginning Jan. 1 by shifting youth detention services to the state.

The changes caught some by surprise when they surfaced as a recommendation Thursday from the council’s budget committee. The full council will consider the budget on Tuesday.

Several council members said it is a tough decision but cited the city’s budget pressures.

“It’s a big bucket of money in our budget,” said council President David James. “The state isn’t reimbursing us anywhere close to what it costs. We’re at a time when we’re in desperate need of tax dollars, but it was a really hard decision.”

Two Jefferson County district judges who oversee juvenile court said they are concerned about the potential loss of the local center, especially if youths held in detention are shipped to other counties.

“They have a lot of services here that are really not available at state-run juvenile detention centers,” said Judge David Bowles. “To that extent, our youth would lose some services.”

Judge Eric Haner said he, too, has doubts, especially about holding detained youths far from home.

“I don’t think it’s a great idea for the community,” he said. “I think it would be disservice to the community not to have a juvenile detention center here in Jefferson County.

Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates, said his organization opposes sending detained youths too far from home.

“We certainly would not want to see kids shipped to northern Kentucky and western Kentucky,” Brooks said.

But he said a transition to state oversight might provide more opportunities to keep youths out of detention with alternatives for supervision in the community.

The state subsidizes Jefferson County’s costs, paying $94 per day for youths in detention and $26 a day for those on home incarceration. The state expects to pay about $2 million in those expenses in the fiscal year that ends June 30, according to the justice cabinet.

Total youth detention services are projected to cost Metro Government about $9.7 million next year.

On Friday, 43 youths were being held at the detention center and another 70 were under supervision outside the center.