State & Region

LITTLE ROCK

A federal appeals panel is considering whether to uphold or strike down a judge’s decision to temporarily block Arkansas from cutting off Medicaid payments for three Planned Parenthood patients.

Attorneys for the state and Planned Parenthood appeared Wednesday before a three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals over the preliminary injunction preventing the defunding move for the patients. U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker issued the injunction last year and Planned Parenthood has asked her to expand the order to any current or future patients.

Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson ended the state’s Medicaid contract last year because of videos secretly recorded by an anti-abortion group. The state has said Planned Parenthood received $51,000 in Medicaid funds during the past fiscal year. None of the money paid for abortions.

LITTLE ROCK

Authorities have identified two Yell County men who were found dead in a salvage yard outside Russellville.

The Pope County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday said the state Crime Lab identified the bodies found at the U-Pull-It Auto Salvage yard as Aaron Brock and Beau DeWitt. The sheriff’s office didn’t say what the cause of deaths was, and said the deaths are being investigated as a homicide.

The bodies were found inside a vehicle at the salvage yard Tuesday afternoon and were taken to the Crime Lab.

LITTLE ROCK

A log truck driver who tested positive for methamphetamine following a fatal Arkansas 2014 crash has been sentenced to 40 years in prison.

Jerry L. Hickman, 41, of Bee Branch was sentenced after he pleaded guilty in Van Buren County Monday to numerous charges, including two counts of negligent homicide.

The June 2, 2014, crash occurred in Clinton when the tractor-trailer truck Hickman was driving south on U.S. 65 had a blowout on the left rear of its trailer. The truck’s trailer overturned and spilled logs onto a road and bridge being worked on by a construction crew.

Two construction workers — 40-year-old Ricardo Trochez of Atkins and 51-year-old Hubert Keith Moore of Chester — were struck by logs and killed. Nineteen others were injured.

BRIEFLY ...

• HARRISON — A regional airline that provided flights for three small airports in Arkansas is ceasing operations as it faces bankruptcy liquidation. Portland, Oregon-based SeaPort Airlines Inc. announced Tuesday that it’s converting its bankruptcy proceedings from a Chapter 11 reorganization to a Chapter 7 liquidation. The airline said it ceased all flights Tuesday night.

Compiled from wire reports