Wednesday October 23, 2013

A woman was hospitalized after a hit-and-run Tuesday in Martin County.

Claudia Johnson was walking on Spence Branch Road in the Milo community around 5:00pm when a car hit her and drove away according to Sheriff Garmon Preece.

Johnson was transported to Three Rivers Medical Center in nearby Lawrence County.

Preece said she had injuries to the back of her head after she was hit and drug several feet.  

According to the sheriff the vehicle that hit Johnson could be a white Ford station wagon.


Kentucky's auditor says a former school superintendent assigned his wife to a job with an inflated salary, costing the Martin County School System an extra $200,000 over four years.

The report released Tuesday by Auditor Adam Edelen also says Mark Blackburn, the ex-superintendent, also  awarded a privately funded scholarship to two of his children.

Current Martin County schools Superintendent Steven Meadows says the district will create or strengthen policies to avoid a repeat of such incidents.

Blackburn now works in the school system as an elementary school teacher.

Blackburn says he's disappointed at how the auditor has portrayed the findings and says his children earned the scholarship money on their own.


Officials dedicated the new judicial center in Pike County Tuesday afternoon after millions of dollars spent and years of work.

Many in the community debated the removal of some historical buildings that once sat in its place but officials say it was worth it.  

Officials say they will be placing pictures and artifacts of the buildings they had to tear down in the lobby of the judicial center.

The $33 million/92,000 square foot building includes technology officials say will improve productivity and help the city and county continue to move forward.


School districts across Kentucky have maxed-out local property taxes in an effort to make up for cuts in state and federal funding in recent years.

The result is an inequality among the state's 173 districts that has turned school boards into political exiles.

Eighty-one districts, including Letcher County, have adopted rates increasing revenue by 4 percent, the largest amount allowed without being subject to a voter recall.

Seventy-six districts approved similar measures last year, while 26 school boards have yet to set a rate.

Kentucky School Boards Association spokesman Brad Hughes told The Courier-Journal the districts have no other choice but to turn to taxpayers.


Kentucky now has a new emergency operations center that has been built to stand up to any weather catastrophes that hit the state, including winds of up to 250 mph.

Gov. Steve Beshear said the $11.8 million facility will be a lifeline to all of Kentucky's 120 counties in times of trouble.

Kentucky has dealt with a series of natural disasters in recent years, including tornadoes, floods and ice storms that have resulted in federal emergency declarations.

Nearly $10 million of the funding for the center came from FEMA.

The remainder was covered by the Kentucky Department of Military Affairs and the Office of Homeland Security.


Hollywood has come to the mountains as filming is underway in Big Stone Gap, VA for a movie starring Ashley Judd, Patrick Wilson and Whoopi Goldberg.

Recently, film crews descended on the town to make "Big Stone Gap", a movie based on a series of novels by Adriana Trigiana.

Trigiana is a Big Stone Gap native.

The film will feature locals as extras.

The city manager said they plan to sell merchandise that will promote both the town and the movie.

Those will be available in shops around town.

City officials hope the movie will bring an increase to the economy of Big Stone Gap.

Tuesday October 22, 2013


A tanker truck wreck Monday afternoon in Perry County delayed traffic on Kentucky-15 for several hours.

Around 1:30 Monday, the Hazard Police department received word that a tanker truck had overturned and spilled around 850 gallons of off-road diesel fuel.

The driver of the truck was not injured, and police do not think he was impaired at the time of the wreck.

Officials with the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection were on the scene Monday, assessing the environmental impact.

The Perry County Sheriff's Office, the state fire marshal, and other agencies were called to the scene as well.

The truck is registered to Carson Montgomery Trucking out of Salyersville.


An investigation is underway following an overnight fire at a Martin County business.

Dispatchers say it happened at the Pigeon Roost Dairy Bar on Route 1714 around 11:00 Sunday night.

Firefighters from the Warfield, Inez and Kermit volunteer fire departments responded.

No one was injured. No word on what started the fire.


Family members have identified the victims in a house fire in the Lick Creek community of Pike County.

Fire broke out inside the home on the Left Fork of Elswick Fork Rd. some time before 1:30 Sunday morning.

State police say when first responders entered the residence they found two bodies.

Family members believe they are their loved ones, 33 year old Jesse Slone, and his wife 27 year old Sara Horn Slone.

Arson investigators have not found anything suspicious.

The fire remains under investigation by Kentucky State Police Post 9.


A man is under arrest following a fight that ended in a shooting.

The Buchanan County Virginia Sheriff's Office says 63-year-old Ben Ratliff is charged with two counts of malicious wounding.

Deputies say they found Amanda and John Ratliff with non-life threatening gunshot wounds on Thursday at a home on Dusty Road in Grundy.

Ben Ratliff is being held at Southwest Regional Jail in Haysi.


Investigators have cracked a case of jewelry theft where the victims were members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Someone reportedly stole some of the band ZZ Top’s jewelry and other items from their dressing room when the rockers made a visit to the Eastern Kentucky Expo Center in May 2007.

Earlier this week, Pikeville police say they received a tip as to where to find the jewelry, including a VH1 Rock Honors Ring.

Charges are pending in the case.

Police aren’t releasing yet exactly where they found the stolen items or any names.

They say they’ve recovered the bulk of the stolen property, but some items remain missing.

Police say they’ve been attempting to reach someone with the band to inform them the items were recovered.


Monday October 21, 2013

Two teenage girls from Lawrence County, missing since late last week, are safe.

Police say they found Brittany Cheyenne Bishop and Karina Catalan, both 16 years old, Saturday night at a gas station in Lexington.

The teens were discovered about 8:30pm at a BP on Richmond Road.

The pair were last seen going to a bus stop on south Highway 3 outside of Louisa early Friday morning.

Bishop was released into the custody of her grandmother.

Police arrested 19 year old Jesus Cristino and charged him with custodial interference.


Two people are dead after an early morning fire in Pike County.

Fire officials say it happened around 1:30am Sunday morning on the Left Fork of Elswick Fork Road.

Ferrells Creek and Elkhorn City Fire Departments responded and firefighters say a man and woman appeared to have died from smoke inhalation.

The fire remains under investigation by Kentucky State Police.  

The victims names have not been released.


A Lee County man has been found shot to death in his own home, now his wife is being charged with the murder.

It happened Friday night in Beattyville at their home on Primrose Lane.

Police say Madeline Lykins first told them she came home Friday night to find her husband Rex had been murdered.

But after questioning Madeline on Saturday, police say they had enough information to charge the 54-year-old with the murder of her husband and with tampering with evidence at the crime scene.

Police have not yet determined a motive for the murder.

The victim's brother-in-law says Rex and his wife had recently moved to Kentucky to be closer to family after retirement.

The wife has been booked at the Lee County Detention Center.


A woman is still in the hospital after a car hit her on Friday Evening in Big Stone Gap Virginia.

Police say 42 year old Christy Vikara was walking along the on-ramp that links up with US Route 23 near Union High School, when she was hit by a car driven by 22 year old Jessica Eldridge.

Vikara was flown to Holston Valley Medical Center in Kingsport Tennessee.

She is listed in critical condition.


The University of Pikeville officially has a new president.

The inauguration for Dr. James Hurley was held Friday.

Hurley is the 20th UPIKE president and the first alumnus of the university to serve in the position.

He says his plans include continuing to grow the university and serve the people of Appalachia by educating them here at home.

Hurley follows in the footsteps of what he calls many great leaders and served most recently as UPIKE Vice President under former Governor Paul Patton.

Friday October 18, 2013

Knox County Sheriff's Deputies say a man hit 12-year-old Macayla Callebs with his car while she was walking to the school bus.

Deputies arrested 20-year-old David Wyatt.

It happened just after 7:00 a.m. on Kentucky 11 in the Cannon community of Knox County.

The 12-year- old survived but has a broken shoulder, a cracked pelvis, and a large gash on her head that required a row of stitches.

Knox County Sheriff's Deputies say the bus had its stop sign out but Wyatt kept driving and hit the girl.

The accident happened before daylight and the roads were wet at the time.

Police say speed was also a factor.

Deputies charged Wyatt, who was on his way to work,  with reckless driving.

Knox County Jail officials say Wyatt was released on Thursday afternoon.


An Eastern Kentucky woman is accused of stealing other people's mail.

But, police say this isn't the first time Tina Cox has been accused of mail theft.

Cox was first accused of the crime in 2007.

She faces felony charges for the accusations that she broke into mail boxes and parcel containers inside the Loyall Post Office, taking items like assorted mail, a pressure cooker, a hand mixer, children's DVD's, and multi-vitamins.

Police say she used small tools to pry open the boxes.

The Loyall PD and officers with the U.S. Post Office arrested Cox Tuesday night at her home.

She is now in the Harlan County Detention Center.


The attorney for a Johnson County woman charged in a crash that killed 18-year-old, C.J. Mollett, filed a motion to dismiss her grand jury indictment.

Myra Castle, is charged with DUI and second-degree manslaughter in the August crash.

Officials say the vehicle she was operating collided with Mollett's motorcycle on Rt. 201 in Johnson County near Sitka.

The motion to dismiss will be heard in Johnson County Circuit Court today.


A federal search warrant has revealed that a West Virginia sheriff was being investigated by the FBI for alleged money laundering in the weeks before his death.

Media outlets report that Mingo County Sheriff Eugene Crum was under investigation for arranging to buy campaign signs with cash obtained from a doctor convicted of running a pill mill.

According to the warrant, Dr. Diane Shafer paid hundreds of thousands in cash to George White for making Crum's campaign signs.

The search warrant issued to search Crum's phone was unsealed last week.

Shafer pleaded guilty to misusing her Drug Enforcement Administration registration number.

Crum was shot to death last spring as he sat in his police cruiser in downtown Williamson.

The FBI also was investigating whether Crum committed mail fraud.


The Cumberland Gap National Historical Park has re-opened following the federal government shutdown.

Officials say the park's workers furloughed during the shutdown returned to work on Thursday.

The park's acting superintendent says all buildings, campgrounds, and trails are open.

The events scheduled this weekend will go on as planned.

Thursday October 17, 2013

Police need your help finding a man who escaped from custody in Breathitt County early Wednesday afternoon.

Jackson City Police say they had just arrested 31 year old Brandon H. Nipper and booked him when he ran off.

It all happened when the jailer tried to put Nipper back into the transport van to take him to the Three Forks Regional Jail.

Officials say Nipper was arrested on a receiving stolen property charge.

We are told schools in Jackson were put on lockdown as a precaution.

Nipper is described as a white male, about five-feet- 9 inches tall and one-hundred forty pounds.

Contact KSP if you have any info.


A Golden Alert out of Harlan County has been cancelled.

Officials with Emergency Management in Harlan County say 84 year old George Stanton from Cawood has been located and is safe.

Officials say he has dementia and is a diabetic and was last seen about 2:00pm yesterday going toward Harlan.

Police did not say where Stanton was located but he is OK.


Fire officials are trying to determine what caused an ambulance to explode Wednesday in Leslie County.

Thankfully, no one was injured.

Paramedics were transporting a patient from Mary Breckinridge ARH Hospital to the nursing home around 10 a.m. Wednesday when their Trans-Star ambulance caught fire.

Sam Mullins, an off-duty Leslie County sheriff's deputy, was driving by and helped the paramedics get the patient out safely.

The ambulance was pulled over on the side of U.S. 421 near downtown Hyden when the explosion occurred.

The fire may have been started by a short in the wiring of the ambulance's electrical system and the explosion was likely from an oxygen tank on board.


The missing person's case of a Johnson County woman that was found in Knott County has been upgraded to a homicide investigation.

The body of 34 year old Christina Barnett, 34 years old, of Sitka, KY, was located on Highway 80 just east of Hindman, on September 25.

Her body had been partially burned and was covered by a TV.

Barnett was reported missing to KSP, by family members, on September 19.

The investigation is continuing by KSP Post 13 detectives.