Kentucky Miners Plead Guilty

Three eastern Kentucky miners have pleaded guilty to violating the federal Mine Safety Act when they intentionally turned off a mines main fan for six hours while miners continued to work.

The fan sweeps out dangerous dusts and gases that can build up when miners are cutting coal.

Ira Sergent, Johnny Osborne and Reggie Raleigh worked at the Stillhouse Mining No. 1 Mine in Harlan County.

Their attorneys filed guilty pleas for one count on Thursday, and federal prosecutors dismissed a second charge as part of a plea deal.

The violations came in December 2006, according to a federal indictment filed in London in September.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports court documents do not indicate a motive for turning off the fan.


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