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Property dispute turns deadly in Smithfield; bus driver remembered

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By Jacquelyn Stoess Hack

Police believe a property dispute led to the fatal shooting of a Henry County man on Saturday afternoon.

Detectives from Kentucky State Police Post 5 are investigating the the death of Joseph Bibelhauser, 61.

A 911 call alerted KSP to an altercation and possible shooting in the 7600 block of Ballardsville Road in Smithfield.

According to police, Bibelhauser died at the scene from a gunshot wound to the head.

The alleged shooter, 57-year-old James Fowler of Smithfield, is charged with murder and held on a $100,000 bond at the Carroll County jail.  

KSP Detective Kurt Buhts is leading the investigation.

Bibelhauser worked as a bus driver for The HDB Service Group, which created Oldham County's public bus service and also provides transportation for seniors.

He viewed his job as more than a bus driver.

Co-workers remember Bibelhauser using his time behind the wheel as a chance to serve others.

He shared home-grown produce with passengers, but his helping hand didn't stop with tomatoes or squash.

One elderly passenger mentioned her embarrassment at her unkempt yard, and Bibelhauser showed up on a Saturday morning to mow it.

After seeing a passenger nearly fall as she walked from her home, he power washed her ramp.

And on rainy days, he sometimes drove passengers all the way to their door, rather than having them walk in the rain.

His attitude permeated to all who worked for the bus service. In his words, "Lotta people count on us. Can't let 'em down!"

Funeral visitation is 3 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Heady-Radcliffe Funeral Home in La Grange. A Funeral mass is 10 a.m. Wednesday, Aug.5 at St. John's Catholic Church in Eminence.