By John L. Ross
DUI charges will be filed against the driver of a van who smashed into the back end of a log truck on U.S. 25W late afternoon Thursday, according to Whitley County Sheriff Colan Harrell.
The van’s driver, James Lovitt, 58, and the passenger, Carl Griffis, both of Williamsburg, were injured in the crash.
Just after wrapping up a single-vehicle crash on KY 92, sheriff’s deputies and Whitley County EMS blue-lighted their way to the crash site at the intersection of U.S. 25W and Highway 204. They were joined by members of the Goldbug Volunteer Fire Department.
Crews found the log truck stopped on northbound Highway 204. It was driven by Onnie Meadors, Sr., of Williamsburg.
Meadors explained he was driving his truck loaded with tree logs on U.S. 25W east of I-75 when he slowed to turn left onto Hwy. 204. He added he was using his turn signal to make the turn.
“I went to turn off, and then he just hit me in the rear end,” Meadors said. “He started to pass me or something — I don’t know.”
Meadors said the crash was intense. “He hit me hard,” he said. “It liked to have turned me over.”
Meadors and his passenger, Johnny Sulfridge, of Williamsburg, were not injured in the crash.
After the crash, the van ended up with its back end in the ditch against a barbed-wire fence.
Lovitt told crash investigator Sgt. Ken Shepherd before being taken to the hospital that when he hit Meadors’ log truck, his Ford Econoline van “rolled backwards” into the fence.
Although Meadors had said he used his turn signal, Lovitt told Shepherd he saw “no turn signal, (or) no brake light.”
Meadors’ son, Onnie Meadors, Jr., wanted law enforcement to drug and alcohol test the van’s driver. He pointed out the skid marks on U.S. 25W leading to the point of impact straddle the center line, then end up back in to the lane of travel.
Ambulance Inc. of Laurel County transported Lovitt; Whitley County EMS transported Griffis. Both were transported to the Baptist Health Corbin hospital.
Harrell said Lovitt will be cited and given a court date to face DUI and reckless driving charges after his release from the hospital.