Seven people were injured in a head-on collision on Sunday afternoon as a Clarkson woman sped in the wrong direction on the Western Kentucky Parkway.
Only two vehicles were involved in the accident, which wounded two adults and five children between the ages of four and 12.
One woman and one child were airlifted from the scene to two different Louisville hospitals, while the other victims were treated at Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center.
Deputy Jarrod Mudd, of the Grayson County Sheriff’s Department, was on duty at the time of the accident. Mudd said in a report that he was near ‘bee hive curve’ in Clarkson when he was alerted by dispatch that there were reports of a silver Chevrolet Malibu travelling in the wrong direction on the parkway.
Mudd immediately headed toward the location, between the Leitchfield and Clarkson exits, but by the time he made it to the city limits of Clarkson, “dispatch advised that there had been a head-on collision,” Mudd wrote.
Parkway traffic was stopped in both the east- and west-bound lanes, with “numerous bystanders” standing near the two severely damaged vehicles, according to the accident report.
When Mudd arrived, he was waved past the Malibu, which had been driven by 65-year-old Charlotte M. Kerr, of Millerstown Road in Clarkson. Witnesses told Mudd that Kerr was okay, but that the occupants of the other vehicle, a 2000 Mercury Grand Marquis piloted by Theresia A. Kimberley, of Fairdale, were badly injured.
After blocking the west bound lanes of traffic with his car, Mudd ran to Kimberley’s van, which had come to a rest upside down, and found that only two of the vehicle’s occupants were still inside - Kimberley, and a young girl.
Mudd climbed into the vehicle through the open rear passenger door and freed the girl from the seatbelt she was tangled in. In his report, Mudd noted that the girl was “bleeding from her mouth and face and had blood and cuts all over her.”
Once the girl was removed from the wreckage, Mudd, along with Grayson County EMS personnel extracted Kimberley from the caved-in portion of the vehicle where she was trapped.
Kimberley and a 12-year-old passenger in her vehicle were quickly flown to Louisville, where Kimberley received treatment at University Hospital and the child received treatment at Kosairs Children’s Hospital. They both suffered multiple incapacitating injuries, according to the accident report.
The other passengers of Kimberley’s vehicle, ages 11, 9, 7 and 4 were transported by EMS to TLRMC, along with Kerr, who was the only occupant in her vehicle. The report noted that each of them suffered multiple injuries; Kerr’s were listed as incapacitating.
Upon investigation of the accident, it appeared to law enforcement officers that the two vehicles collided head-on, at which point, Kerr’s Malibu came to a rest in the median facing north-east. The van, however, began to slide nearly 200 feet before rolling over onto the passenger side.
Once on its side, the vehicle skidded nearly 45 feet further, then lost a front wheel and tire from the passenger side before rolling onto its top and sliding upside down for more than 200 feet.
Kimberley advised officers that prior to the collision, she had noted the vehicles in front of her moving out of the way of the Malibu, as it travelled eastward in the fast lane of the west-bound side of the parkway. She said, however, that due to the traffic beside her, she was unsuccessful in her attempt to avoid the collision. Witnesses also stated that she had tried to avoid the oncoming car, but could not.
Alcohol is not thought to be a factor in the accident, and no charges are expected to result.
Mudd’s report noted that he was assisted at the scene by “numerous fire, EMS and law enforcement officers.”