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One driver dead, the other behind bars in head-on crash

By: Tim Johnston Email
By: Tim Johnston Email

The crash happened on Hardwicks Creek Road, several miles outside of Clay City, and it had the road shut down for hours.

There 65-year-old Donald Tharpe was pronounced dead at the scene after the truck he was driving was hit head-on by another pickup.

"There was no doubt that the driver of the red S-10 pickup was deceased. It was a pretty bad accident," said Deputy Robert Matthews of the Powell County Sheriff's Department.

Inside the truck, with Tharpe, was a woman, who Tharpe's family identified as Constance Puckett. She was flown to U.K. Hospital and was released hours later.

Looking at the scene, Deputy Matthews said it was clear to him that the F-150 driven by 31-year-old Brian Epperson, crossed into Tharpe's path.

"By looking at the accident scene, it looks as if the F-150 crossed the line," explained Deputy Matthews.

Epperson, was not injured in the accident, but is behind bars of charges of murder, D.U.I. and assault. According to the report filed with the Powell County Jail, Epperson was described at the scene to have bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, and unsteady on his feet. The report says Epperson told a deputy that he had taken a Xanax before driving. Epperson consented to a blood test, and investigators are now waiting for the results.

Tharpe's family declined to comment on camera, but they say they will miss the father of three.

"It's just a tragic accident that took someone's life," added Deputy Matthews.

People who live along Hardwicks Creek Road say this is a dangerous area and many accidents happen along this part of the road.


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