Police: wet road probable cause of Christmas Eve crash

As a safety precaution, Barbourville firefighters clean debris off Hwy 11 before allowing traffic to continue on their way. Photo by Bobbie Poynter
As a safety precaution, Barbourville firefighters cleaned debris off the highway before allowing traffic to continue on their way.
Photo by Bobbie Poynter

 

 

 

Mike Cobb consoles his daughter, Callie, as their Explorer is loaded onto a wrecker Wednesday afternoon.
Mike Cobb consoles his daughter, Callie, as their Explorer is loaded onto a wrecker Wednesday afternoon.

 

 

 

 

By Bobbie Poynter

And they walked away.

A two-vehicle collision at the intersection of Hwy 11 and Pope Hollow road could easily have taken the lives of a Turkey Creek father and daughter as their car flipped three times on a stretch of road police officers say is known for causing a great amount of serious and even fatal injuries.

Callie Cob, 17, was driving a 2004 Ford Explorer east on South KY11 when she lost control of her vehicle on the wet road. According to her father, Mike Cobb, who was a passenger in the car, the vehicle slipped off the road into a ditch, somehow bounced back out and flipped three times. At some point, Cobb says, the Explorer struck a coal truck driven by Douglas Lawson of Beverly, Ky.

According to Barbourville Patrolman Robert Brown, there were no serious injuries reported, and they were all wearing seatbelts.

“I don’t believe speed was an issue in this particular accident,” said Patrolman Brown. Once this stretch of road gets wet, it gets really slick, especially here on this curve. This is not the first accident at this intersection, and it won’t be the last. This is just a really dangerous spot on the highway.”

Mike Cobb was more concerned for his daughter than anything else that was going on.

“I’m sore,” he admitted, “but my daughter’s alive. That’s all that counts.”

This particular short stretch of road is well known to Barbourville’s emergency responders. According to officers, there have been 20 to 25 accidents reported at this same intersection in the last three years alone. Of those numerous incidents, there were two fatalities reported, and more than half of the accidents resulted in serious injuries.

“I’m not an engineer,” said Barbourville Assistant Police Chief James Gray, “but if you ask me, the contour of this curve is all wrong.”

Assisting at the scene were the Barbourville Fire Department, Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement, and Knox EMS.

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