Two women were killed and two other women were critically injured in a three-vehicle collision that occurred on Tuesday, September 3 on Bypass 90 in Monticello.
The accident occurred at approximately 1:08 p.m. on the bypass near its intersection with the Jim Hill Service Road. Wayne County Coroner Forrest Hicks said that Louanne Ellis, 57, of Somerset, a passenger in one of the vehicles, was pronounced dead at the scene at approximately 1:40 p.m.
Ellis was a passenger in a 2003 Toyota Camry, driven by Jessica Whitaker, 28, of Somerset. Whitaker was traveling east on Bypass 90, when Kentucky State Police said her vehicle was struck in the rear by a 2002 Kia Spectra driven by Eric Branscum, 25, of Stearns, Kentucky.
Police said that after impact, the Toyota traveled into the west bound lane of Bypass 90 and was struck in the passenger side by a 1992 Dodge Caravan, operated by Veila Stephenson, 75, of Monticello.
Whitaker was flown from the scene to the University of Kentucky Medical Center. Stephenson and a passenger in her vehicle, Gladys Parmley, 69, of Monticello, were also flown to the University of Kentucky Medical Center. Parmley later died at the Lexington hospital, according to police.
Branscum was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash, according to KSP. The operators and passengers in the other vehicles were wearing seat belts.
No alcohol or drugs are suspected.
Kentucky State Police Crash Reconstructionist Craig Reed was on the scene and that area of Bypass 90 was closed for several hours as the investigation continued.
Reed was assisted at the scene by Trooper Justin Oliver, the Monticello Police Department, Wayne County EMS, Monticello Fire Department, Wayne County Sheriff’s Department and Wayne County Rescue Squad.
Reed said the investigation is continuing.
A single-boat accident claimed the lives of two individuals during the annual Lake Cumberland Poker Run on Saturday, September 7.
The accident occurred between the Ramsey Point and Camp Earl Wallace area of Lake Cumberland. The boat involved was a 38-foot tunnel hull catamaran participating in the Poker Run. The catamaran was among the first group to leave State Dock just after 11 a.m. in Jamestown, Kentucky, heading to Conley Bottom. Conley Bottom was the first stop on the Poker Run course.
According to eye witnesses, the catamaran was traveling behind another boat when it suddenly jerked to the left. The catamaran hit the wake of the other boat causing it to flip and over end. Other boats in the vicinity avoided the accident.
The accident was called in to the Wayne County 911 Dispatch at 11:24 a.m. Wayne County EMS, Wayne County Rescue Squad and Monticello Fire Department responded to the call.
Jeffery Thomas Asbell, 47, and Bradley David Smith, 39, both of Joplin, Missouri, were pronounced dead at approximately 12:35 p.m. by Wayne County Coroner Forrest Hicks at the boat ramp at Camp Earl Wallace. According to the coroner’s report, Asbell suffered serious blunt force trauma to the head, and Smith suffered serious blunt force trauma to the abdomen and lower extremities.
The cause of the accident is still unclear. Captain Tim Catron of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources reported that his officers of the 9th District are still investigating.
In addition to the fatal boat accident, Fish and Wildlife officers made the following arrests: 25 boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs, 15 alcohol or public intoxication, two indecent exposure, one disorderly conduct, two possession of marijuana, and two possession of drug paraphernalia. They also issued several citations for safety violations.