The Times Journal …

Posted August 12, 2020 at 7:45 am

Funeral services were held last weekend for a well known man who died after being injured in a vehicle accident.

Joe Birdwell, 71, of Columbia, died Wednesday, July 29 at the UK Medical Center from injuries sustained in a crash earlier that day on Louie B. Nunn Cumberland Parkway, authorities said.

A report by Kentucky State Police Trooper Jason Warriner said the accident occurred around 3:40 p.m. as Keith Coffman, 45, of Bowling Green, was traveling westbound in a 2019 Ford pickup.

Coffman, who was “towing trailers,” left the right shoulder of the roadway “for an unknown reason,” and the trailer he was towing “struck pedestrian Birdwell…and a 1997 Dodge pickup, which was parked in the westbound emergency lane,” Warriner said.

Birdwell was transported from the scene by an emergency medical helicopter.

A passenger in his vehicle, Kenneth Davis, 76, of Columbia, was also flown to the University of Kentucky Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

The accident occurred at the 61 mile marker, near the Lakeway Drive Overpass in Russell Springs.

Crowds gathered along the top of the overpass to watch as several agencies responded.

A portion of the road was closed for several hours while troopers investigated the collision.

KSP Post 15 was assisted at the scene by the Russell County Sheriff’s Office, fire, EMS and rescue.

The collision remains under investigation by Trooper Warriner.

Birdwell, a Russell County native, was known for selling produce in the area for many years.


A former substitute teacher and football coach is free on bond after being indicted for alleged sex crimes against a student.

Hunter Lovell, 25, was indicted by a Russell County Grand Jury Tuesday, July 28, on four counts of alleged third degree rape, State Attorney General Daniel Cameron said.

Cameron said Lovell, while serving as a substitute teacher at Russell County High School, “unlawfully engaged in sexual intercourse with a minor…from September 2019 to November 2019.”

“Any individual who uses his or her position of authority to earn the trust of children and subsequently take advantage of them should be met with the full force of the law,” the attorney general said.

Cameron said the indictment stems from a collaborative effort between local and state entities.

“I appreciate the commitment of the Russell Springs Police Department, our Cyber Crimes Unit, and Office of Special Prosecutions for partnering to bring charges in this case,” he said.

Former Russell Springs Police Chief Joseph Irvin and Detective Sergeant Chasity Shirley from the Russell Springs Police Department, and an investigator from the Attorney General’s Cyber Crimes Unit conducted the investigation.

After the investigation, the Attorney General’s Office of Special Prosecutions was appointed to handle the case, Cameron said.

Assistant Attorney General Rewa Zakharia will prosecute the case on behalf of the Commonwealth.

Last week, authorities issued a warrant for Lovell’s arrest.

Friday, July 31, Lovell was processed at the Russell County Detention Center, and posted a full cash bond of $20,000.