Miner's Widow Demands Harsher Penalties Against Coal Boss

CUMBERLAND, Ky. (AP) - State mine safety officials say a coal boss could have done more to prevent the death of a miner whose legs were severed in an underground accident.

The agency is holding Gary Wayne Bentley, who was also the on-shift emergency technician, responsible for the death of 29-year-old David "Bud" Morris Junior who bled to death on December 30th as he awaited an ambulance.

The agency says Bentley could have dressed the wounds, elevated the miner's extremities or applied pressure - but he didn't.

The Office of Mine Safety and Licensing proposed permanently revoking Bentley's emergency technician's license and suspending his mining certification for a year.

But Morris' widow, Stella Morris, says that's not enough. Morris filed a complaint with the Mine Safety Review Commission this week asking for harsher penalties since Bentley had two positions at H&D Mining Number 3 mine in Harlan County - co-owner and certified mine emergency technician.

Bentley and his attorney, Gene Smallwood of Whitesburg, did not return calls from The Associated Press today.

In July, the state Office of Mine Safety and Licensing filed a complaint against Bentley, citing him for "(electing) not to check or treat the patient." He was also charged with lying to investigators about the incident.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

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