News Around the State

Ky. horse country attractions teaming up for tours

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — The Kentucky Horse Park and Kentucky Derby Museum are teaming up to offer spring tours for people wanting to learn more about famous thoroughbreds.

Called the Legacy and Legend Tour, it includes transportation, lunch, admissions and a guided, behind-the-scenes experience.

Officials say guests will begin the tour at the Derby Museum in Louisville. Besides experiencing the museum, they can watch morning workouts at Churchill Downs.

Guests will then go by chartered bus to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. The experience includes touring the grounds to visit memorials to Man o’ War and Secretariat. They’ll also have a chance to meet Kentucky Derby winners Funny Cide and Go for Gin.

Tours are available April 5, 12 and 19 for $200 per person; and April 26 and May 3 for $250 per person.

Wiretaps in drug probe lead to arrests in Ky. slaying

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A federal undercover drug investigation in Kentucky’s largest city has led to the arrest of three men accused in a homicide stemming from an alleged drug deal gone wrong and plans for revenge.

The Courier Journal reports a federal affidavit outlines wiretapped phone calls and surveillance on the three Louisville men alleged to have carried out a $30,000 murder-for-hire plot to kill 24-year-old Vicente Rodriguez Ramirez.

The wiretaps began last December as part of an investigation into Javier Rodriguez, who Drug Enforcement Administration agents suspect led a local methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine and marijuana trafficking operation.

In an intercepted call from Jan. 16, agents heard talk of a potential drug buy between Rodriguez and a man later identified as Ramirez.

Four days later, Ramirez was found shot dead inside a vehicle.

Bridge painting project to cause I-64 lane closures

FLEMINGSBURG, Ky. (AP) — Transportation officials say a bridge painting project will cause intermittent lane closures along a 10-mile stretch of Interstate 64 in eastern Kentucky.

A statement from the Department of Highways says lane closures began Saturday as crews paint bridges in Bath County and will continue over the next several months.

The statement says contractors will paint the west side of bridges at mile marker 118, mile marker 120 and mile marker 129 and then paint the east sides of the spans.

The $1.2 million project is expected to be completed by July 31.

Officer caught in floodwaters found dead

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A small-town Kentucky police officer swept away by floodwaters was found dead Saturday after an overnight search, authorities said.

Hickman police Officer Rodney S. Smith disappeared Friday night while on duty, and his body was found the next morning in a flooded field, Kentucky State Police Detective Jody Cash said.

Before his disappearance, Smith contacted a dispatcher asking for help after his vehicle was swept away by floodwaters from a nearby creek, Hickman city manager James Gray said.

“It’s unexpected and devastating,” Gray said.

Smith, 45, of Boaz, Kentucky, was pronounced dead at the scene by the Fulton County coroner, Cash said. The investigation was ongoing and an autopsy was planned Saturday, he said.

Search and rescue teams from Kentucky and Tennessee joined in the overnight search.

Hickman, a town of about 2,400 people along the Mississippi River, is in the far southwest corner of Kentucky. The town is about 270 miles (435 kilometers) southwest of Louisville.

The first word that Smith had encountered high water came about 9:15 p.m. CST Friday when he told a dispatcher that his cruiser had run off the road at the edge of town and asked for a tow truck, Gray said. The situation escalated quickly and he radioed back for help, saying his cruiser had been caught in a swift current, Gray said. The area has received heavy rain in recent days.

Smith got out of the cruiser when it began to sink, and authorities lost contact with him, Gray said. Dozens of searchers went out looking for him.

His body was found about 5 a.m Saturday, Cash said. His cruiser also was found.

Smith had been a member of Hickman’s police department for nearly five months, Gray said. The department has a half-dozen officers, including the chief, he said. Smith previously worked as an officer in Mayfield, Kentucky, for several years, Gray said.