Kentucky Local News, Weather, Sports | Lexington, KY | WKYT

Mom saves family from fiery crash

By: Tim Johnston Email
By: Tim Johnston Email

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - Wrestling appears to be a big part of the Branch family. The dad, Jeff, is the middle school coach and helps with the high school team, when he's not working his full time job at the Ford Factory, according to fellow Coach Mark Hitchings.

Sunday morning around 12:22, Branch and his two sons were driving back to Louisville from a Middle School wrestling competition in Mount Vernon. When the Branches were passing through Franklin County, the drive home took a scary turn.

"When you look at the pictures of the vehicle that he was in, you're first thought is 'how does anyone live through that?'" described Hitchings, the head wrestling coach at Fern Creek High School.

According to Hitchings, Branch fell asleep behind the wheel sending his SUV across the median of Interstate-64.

"He hit an 18-wheeler essentially head on. There was a little bit of an angle in the impact which indeed may have been what saved all of their lives."

Franklin County Sheriff Pat Melton went on to describe the accident in further detail, "It looked like a bomb exploded on the interstate. You had about a 75 yard debris field on both sides of the interstate. He hit not one tractor trailer, he hit two."

Sheriff Melton says Branch's Ford Edge then caught fire with Branch and his sons stuck inside. But a guardian angel came to the trio's rescue.

"His (Branch's) wife Debbie, who was in a trailing vehicle and witnessed the entire thing, (she) initially tried to throw snow on the fire. It wasn't enough snow and she had the wherewithal to get the cooler out of the back of the car and empty Gatorade bottles on the fire to put out the fire," said Hitchings.

Branch was airlifted to UK Hospital where he's said to be in serious condition. Sheriff Melton says the other truck driver and Branch's two son's were treated and released in Frankfort.

"It's just amazing that everybody is alive right now and able to live and talk about it," said the Sheriff, adding that neither Branch, nor his sons, nor the truck driver appeared to be wearing their seat belts.


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