By John Ross / Staff Writer
A Kentucky state trooper heading to investigate a crash near Cumberland Falls ended up injured and another man killed after their vehicles crashed Wednesday at the intersection of U.S. 25W, Brays Chapel and Shiner Church roads.
Whitley County Coroner Andy Croley said Williamsburg resident James King, 41, was pronounced dead at the scene at 3:15 p.m.
According to KSP public affairs officer Trooper Lloyd Cochran, the trooper, who was not identified by KSP at press time, was northbound on U.S. 25W to handle a two-vehicle crash.
“At 3 p.m. KSP received a call about a collision with injuries on U.S. 25W,” Cochran said. “The trooper (dispatched to investigate), had all his emergency equipment on — his sirens and his lights.”
As the trooper drove around the corner and began to descend the hill toward Shiner Church Road, Cochran said he apparently came upon slowed traffic.
“So he went in the southbound lane, northbound, to pass the slow traffic,” Cochran said. “The traffic was slowed — almost stopped — and then the Camaro pulled into (the trooper’s) path.”
King was driving the 1991 Chevrolet Camaro, and was the only person in the vehicle at the time of the crash.
“When (King) pulled in the trooper’s path, (the trooper) rear-ended him,” Cochran said. The trooper’s car ended up off the northbound side of the road down a steep embankment near a tree. While he was transported for treatment, the extent of his injuries were unknown at press time.
KSP crash reconstruction specialists were at the scene to examine the crash — U.S. 25W, Shiner Chapel and Brays Chapel roads were all closed for several hours during the investigation.
According to Whitley County Sheriff Colan Harrell, that KSP trooper was responding to another two-car crash on U.S. 25W that involved another state trooper’s wife.
That crash happened just before 3 p.m. north of the intersection of KY 90 and U.S. 25W — the entrance to Cumberland Falls State Park.
In that wreck, the driver of a Chrysler 300 and the driver of a Chevrolet Malibu crashed and ended up blocking part of southbound U.S. 25W and all of the northbound side. The yet-to-be-identified driver was treated by Whitley County EMS crew members and then flown to the hospital for her injuries — it was not known at press time the extent of those injuries or to what hospital she was flown. The driver of the Chevrolet Malibu was the wife of a state trooper, according to Harrell. She was with her two small children, who appeared uninjured and were taken from the scene by family. The trooper’s wife appeared uninjured but she was also transported by Whitley County EMS for treatment.
Rescue and fire personnel with the Oak Grove Volunteer Fire Department and the Goldbug Volunteer Fire Department were on hand to assist at both crash sites, as were deputies with the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department and several units with the Kentucky State Police Department, who are also investigating both crashes. KSP Sgt. Greg Hill leads the fatal crash investigation, according to Croley.
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