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June 13, 2014

‘Chain reaction’ crash on I-75

Three vehicles involved in Thursday afternoon wreck

CORBIN — No serious injuries were reported after a “chain-reaction” crash on I-75 Thursday afternoon that involved three vehicles.

Officer Wendell Hunter with Commercial Vehicle Enforcement said Darnell Johnson, 49, of Indianapolis, Indiana, was driving a tandem tractor-trailer north on I-75 around 4 p.m. when bridge work on the interstate forced traffic into one lane.

As traffic began to slow down for the one-lane stretch near mile marker 27, Johnson told officers he saw a Honda Accord in front of him begin to slow down — and knew he was never going to stop in time.

Meanwhile, the driver of the Honda, Chris Cunningham, 59, of Columbus, Indiana, also northbound on I-75, saw through his rearview mirror that Johnson’s truck would never stop before crashing into him.

In an effort to avoid a crash, both Johnson and Cunningham attempted to get into the emergency lane.

It didn’t work.

Johnson’s tractor-trailer rear-ended Cunningham’s Honda, which was sent into a Saturn Outlook.

The Saturn was being driven by 43-year-old Stephanie Philpot, of Latta, South Carolina. She was the only vehicle in the crash holding passengers — three children were with her in the vehicle.

No charges are expected to be filed — however, the crash remains under investigation.

Traffic was down to one lane through that area while crews cleared the scene, and backed up past Exit 25.

Assisting at the scene were officers with the Corbin Police Department, firefighters with Corbin Fire Department, and Whitley EMS.

EMS crew members treated Cunningham at the scene, then transported him to Baptist Health-Corbin, where he was treated and released.

The interstate was reopened for regular traffic flow by 5:15 p.m.

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