Hubcap Harold

The Murder of Hubcap Harold

If you lived in Valley Station or Pleasure Ridge in the 90's, you probably knew, or knew of, George Harold Smith. But you probably knew him as Hubcap Harold. One of The Ridge's most colorful businessmen, The Courier Journal even did a story about him in 1991. Smith frequented flea markets and yard sales in the area, always looking for something he could make a profit on.

Smith was a 38 year old eccentric, enterprising businessman that sold hubcaps, and assorted novelities close to the Johnsontown/Dixie intersection. He was a self-described country boy that loved Elvis, good conversation, and making a buck.

Hubcap Harold operated at 9101 Dixie Highway for almost 10 years. His business operated out of a small shed he rented for $100 a month from John Hicks, Jr. The little shed sat close to the highway, across from Westland Mall. It stayed decorated with Christmas lights all year long. Smith sold hubcaps, ceramic novelties, and anything Elvis. Later, he sold light packages for auto under-carriages.

Hubcap Harold had a habit of smoking fat cigars, and ending his sentences with "Man". He loved Elvis Presley, and often dressed in all black like the singer. Everyone that knew him said he was a a good-natured joker that drove a white Cadillac hearse he called "The Last Ride", with a plastic skeleton riding shotgun. Smith's wife Margaret said he loved the old hearse so much, he hoped to keep it long enough for his own funeral. Sadly, Harold Smith got his wish in November, 2000.

On November 22, 2000 Hubcap Harold was found lying face down in a pool of blood, on the floor of his little shop. He had apparently been robbed, and shot twice in the head.

At the time, I believe there was more of a community feel in PRP. Harold was one of us, and most everyone knew him. The community was at first frightened, then enraged. Harold's friend Rocky Stevenson (Rocky's Auto Sales) even put up a $10,000 reward for information that led to Smith's killer. In 2000, there was still a Jefferson County Police Force, and local officers took it personal.

Within a week they had narrowed their search to Michael J. Crain. As they attempted to take Crain into custody for questioning, he led them on a foot-chase through backyards in PRP. The chase ended when Crain turned his gun on officers, and they shot him. Crain was posthumously convicted of the murder of George Harold Smith.

But the police weren't going to stop until everyone involved answered for Smith's death. That brings us to Richard A. Meredith. The police believed Crain murdered Smith, and Meredith drove the car. Meredith was arrested in May of 2001. On August 28, 2002 Richard Meredith was convicted of complicity to the robbery, and murder of Harold Smith. A charge that carried a possible sentence of 20 years, to the death penalty.

Sadly, in December 2003, The Kentucky Supreme Court overturned the conviction, upholding only the robbery charge. That left Meredith serving 20 years. Lots of folks thought it was a slap-on-the-wrist for the person that made it all happen.