News Around the State

Bill would regulate disposal of painkillers in hospice care

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Hospice providers would have to adopt policies and procedures for the disposal of powerful prescription painkillers following a patient’s death under a bill that has cleared the Kentucky House of Representatives.

When a person in hospice care dies, unused pain medication reverts to their estate. House Bill 148 would require hospice providers to come up with an agreement for the patient to sign allowing the provider to destroy the medication after death. If the patient refuses to sign the agreement, the hospice provider must notify local law enforcement agencies about the painkillers once the patient dies.

Bill sponsor Addia Wuchner said the bill is aimed at curbing the supply of opioid-based painkillers, which are highly addictive and have led to a record number of overdose deaths in Kentucky and nationwide.

Former insurance exec sentenced in embezzling scheme

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A former chief financial officer of a Louisville insurance company has been sentenced to 37 months in federal prison for tax evasion and embezzlement.

A federal judge ordered 63-year-old Sylvia R. Smith to pay $674,093 in restitution during the sentencing on Monday. Smith was accused of devising an embezzlement scheme to obtain money from her employer, Market Finders Insurance Corp. and diverting those funds to another company owned by her husband.

A plea agreement says Smith created fraudulent loan checks from Market Finders and moved them into the bank account of her husband’s company, PBS Insurance. This happened from July 2013 to April 2015.

Smith was charged with wire fraud and failing to report embezzled funds as income on her tax returns.

New police chief named for Ky.’s 2nd largest city

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A new police chief has been named in Kentucky’s second largest city.

Mayor Jim Gray announced Monday that 54-year-old Lawrence Weathers, a former assistant chief who retired from the Lexington Police Department in 2016, will return to lead the agency.

Gray said Weathers is a proponent of community-oriented policing and developing community partnerships. The mayor says those are key strategies to improving public safety.

Weathers is a Lexington native and holds a master’s degree in criminal justice from Eastern Kentucky University. His official start date as chief is March 5.

Former Chief Mark Barnard stepped down last month after 31 years with the police department.

2nd of 2 men shot by police dies

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Authorities say the second of two men shot by police in Kentucky has died.

Jefferson County Deputy Coroner Michael Haag tells the Courier Journal 38-year-old Billy Ray Riggs Jr. died of a gunshot wound at a hospital Saturday. Riggs and 32-year-old Alexander Simpson were fatally shot during a drug bust Thursday.

Louisville police Chief Steve Conrad says Detective Darrell Hyche was released from a hospital after being shot in the face and head during a traffic stop. Conrad says Detective Bradley Woolridge returned fire after someone in a truck fired shots. It’s unclear who opened fire from the pickup and there’s no body camera footage because the detectives were on “plainclothes assignment.”

The pickup’s other passengers, 41-year-old Mark Alan Risner and 37-year-old Roger Dale Goodman, pleaded not guilty to trafficking charges.

Cause of fire that killed 2 in under investigation

BREMEN, Ky. (AP) — Investigators are looking into a residential fire that killed two people and injured a neighbor in Kentucky.

Kentucky State Police said Monday that is investigating the cause of a fire at a home in Bremen. Investigators say firefighters from several departments were called to the burning home on Saturday morning.

Police say a neighbor, Benjamin Harrison, tried to pull a 5-year-old boy out of the fire. He received injuries that did not threaten his life.

Investigators say the boy was taken to a hospital in Nashville, Tennessee, where he died. Police say 89-year-old Mitchell Kyle was found dead inside the home.

Kentucky State Police is investigating the cause, but foul play is not suspected.