Wednesday, January 23, 2008

UPDATE: 2 (3)Killed in Johnson County Accident

A paramedic and a woman who was pregnant have been killed
in accident on US 460 in Johnson County KY. t happened around 9am near the Johnson-Magoffin County line. Bob Dixon, the Paintsville Fire Chief says emergency crews were sent to a minor accident to check out a woman who was pregnant. Dixon says as the the paramedic and the woman were walking towards the ambulance they were hit by a coal truck that had slid on the icy roadway. Both were killed The paramedic has been identified as 33-year old Christa Burchett. She was taken to local hospital where she was pronounced dead a short time later. The chief says thats 24-year old Erica Brown (And Baby Brown which makes that three) of River and her unborn child were pronounced dead at the scene. Christa Burchett had been employed as a paramedic with Paintsville Fire-EMS since August 2005. She had been named Assistant Chief and Director of EMS in April 2007. She had been a paramedic since 2003. She leaves behind a teenage daughter. Another paramedic was injured. Brian Moore was treated and released from a local hospital The chief say that US 460 was slick and very icy at the time of both accidents. The truck also hit a Johnson County sheriff's car and another parked car. No word if charges will be filed against the driver of the truck. Kentucky State Police say he is Leslie Spence. videos

There are a few people who have concerns with this report and maybe this should have been another issue the was brought up with the S-miner bill. The individual who has written this letter to several editors is an esteemed forensic engineer in vehicle incident reconstruction and he knows his stuff.

To the Editor:

What a tragedy that young Erica Brown, her unborn baby, and first responder Christa Burchett were so brutally killed by an out of control coal truck. I am writing to point out some inaccuracies in the story that was printed today.

It said “Preliminary investigation shows that the accident was caused by icy road conditions.” This is false. Icy roads are inanimate, do not have brains, and cannot cause anything. What is true is that accidents are caused by people driving inappropriately for the conditions.

Second, the Kentucky State Police said that speed does not appear to be a factor. Do they really mean that if this truck had been traveling at a lower speed it would have slid anyway? Or are they saying that it is all right to continue to travel the speed limit under icy conditions even though doing so causes loss of control as in this case? Good grief.

Last, the KSP said the truck was carrying the amount of weight permitted and was not overweight. This is half true. Incomprehensibly, our state legislature years ago decided to allow coal trucks on certain roads to weigh fully twenty tons more than the much safer Federal limit of 80,000 pounds. Consequently this truck almost certainly weighed about 120,000 pounds. So, it was legal, but from a safety standpoint, grossly overweight.

Now will the legislature do the right thing and roll back coal truck weights to a safer limit, or will it take one hitting a loaded school bus? And will law enforcement spend more time promoting safety and less making excuses for killer coal trucks?


Anonymous said...

i dont happen to see mention of why their was no traffic control for the accident. it appears to me, that guidelines were not followed in order to prevent this accident. i do think it was a horrible tragedy, but where does the blame actually lie? coal trucks cannot stop like regular vehicles and i think this is something that people tend to forget.
if traffic control or even warnings were in use, we would not even be discussing this.

Tammy said...

Well, I guess I'm not sure if there were or not.

However if the truck couldn't stop the truck couldn't stop and it could be we would be talking about a few more losses. If so there were a few things that could have been changed, but it still goes back to the fact that the load was too large and the truck driver should have taken precautions.

I guess we could talk all we want about could of and should of, the fact still remains the truck being there made the difference and all we can do now is learn from the incident and if we do not that is where the stupidity lies. The issues are known and the lessons ignored. So with this said it is up to those who want change to be loud and clear as to what changes should be made and to be there for the families.

So keep talking and if there was no traffic control raise some cane.

Anonymous said...

There should have been more traffic control. After all it was a blind scene. There should've been an officer back away from the scene giving warning to nearing traffic. at least they could've stopped. The only patrolman on the scene was directly behind the ambulance. The EMT was trained to handle this. The patrolman should've gave her space and worried about the traffic.

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