FOX19 Investigates: Judge won't hold Gallatin Co. official in contempt

WARSAW, KY (FOX19) - A judge today denied a request by a tow truck company owner to hold the Gallatin County judge/executive in contempt of court. His attorney had argued Judge/Exec Ken McFarland intentionally defied the court by refusing to take another tow truck company off the list of wrecker services that emergency dispatchers can use when a semi crashes in the area.

FOX19 broke the story about the controversy in the rural area along the Ohio River in Kentucky last month.

Bobby Searcy, owner of Big Rig One Stop Shop, took the county to court because McFarland wouldn't remove a competitor, Corzine Auto Repair, from the dispatchers' list. Searcy and his attorney, Grant Axon, argued that Corzine did not have the proper insurance coverage or equipment that's large enough to safely remove semi's from the road.

Judge James Schrand initially sided with Searcy and ordered McFarland to take Corzine off the list. But McFarland and county attorneys say they found proof after the judge's order was issued that Corzine is in compliance with all the requirements. So McFarland kept Corzine on the list. It was at that point that Axon filed a contempt motion against McFarland.

But Judge Schrand wrote today that he's not going to hold McFarland in contempt.

"(Kentucky State Police) Post 5 Tow Truck Guidelines and the D.O.T. do not require a wrecker service to own a wrecker of a particular size," Schrand wrote in his opinion.

The judge also wrote that the county has submitted documents purportedly showing that Corzine has sufficient insurance. The judge says Searcy's side didn't provide evidence to the contrary, so there's no basis to hold McFarland in contempt on that issue either.

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