Fatal Flaws

Kentucky Labor Cabinet

The Kentucky Labor Cabinet has announced plans to increase salaries, provide more training and buy more equipment for its occupational safety and health compliance officers.

The changes come on the heels of an investigative series by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, the Ohio Valley ReSource and the Center for Public Integrity, which first publicly revealed the state’s program was under serious federal scrutiny.

J. Tyler Franklin

Grant Oakley’s second day of work was the last day of his life.

Seventeen, sandy-haired and tall, Grant liked to fish, tinker with motorcycles with his father, Mike, and play tuba in the school marching band. He was excited in the fall of 2015 when he landed his first part-time job at a farm supply business. The location was convenient; Bluegrass Agricultural Distributors was just across the highway from the Oakley family’s farmhouse near Lancaster, Kentucky, in rural Garrard County. 


Michelle Hanks

While most of the Meade County public works crew finished their lunches, Pius “Gene” Hobbs was raking along the edge of the road, oblivious to the dump truck backing quickly towards him. 

Unbeknownst to the driver, Hobbs was knocked to the ground and crushed under the truck’s weight. When the truck accelerated forward, Hobbs’ coworker ran him over a second time. He was killed on impact. 

The only eyewitness to the December 2016 incident, a bystander named Greg Turner, said that he didn’t hear a backup beeper on the truck as it reversed. Maybe Hobbs hadn’t either.