Questions After ATV and KSP Cruiser Collide

By: Michel Mason Email
By: Michel Mason Email

A man recovers from serious injuries after his ATV collides with a state police cruiser. The injured man's family is making a plea for anyone who witnessed the crash to come forward.

The crash happened Friday night along Highway 317 in the Neon community of Letcher County. The family of Tommy Newman, 42, is still wondering how and why this happened.

Some of Newman's family members returned to the scene of the crash Monday, hoping to find answers. The only thing they found was his shattered glasses.

"We need to find out what actually happened because he wants to know why, we all want to know why," said Newman's sister, Debbie Short.

State police say Trooper Ben Campbell was attempting to stop Newman for riding this ATV on a state highway. They claim Trooper Campbell had to act fast when Newman stopped suddenly.

"He made an evasive maneuver and went around the ATV, into the other lane of traffic and then the atv cuts a hard left into the side of his cruiser," said Trooper Tony Watts.

Newman was thrown from the ATV, suffering several facial injuries and broken bones. His family provided a picture of Newman shortly after the crash.

At least one person who saw the crash tells a different story than police. Newman's family was told the trooper was responding with lights and sirens to another call. They say Newman remembers pulling off to the side of the road before the crash.

"All he can remember is the car dropping off the road. He said he remembered that cop dropping off the road," added Short.

"It's unfortunate the accident happened and we hope that he recovers well from his injuries. I'm sure the trooper intended nothing for this to happen," added Trooper Watts.

State police say criminal charges are pending in this case, but are not saying what those include.

Newman remains at Holston Valley Medical Center in fair condition Monday night.

He was not wearing a helmet.


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  • by Blah Blah Blah Location: Blahville Ky on Sep 11, 2008 at 11:17 AM
    Sounds like our State Troopers at their finest.I guess it takes a real man to wreck a 700lb Atv WITH 3500lb car. Be proud KSP your finest are doing a fine job arent they.Around here they dont chase them they let them get home then arrest them[because the cops usually know who to look for and get].This dont apply to the KSP THEY DO WHAT THEY WANT HOW THEY WANT.I believe our money could be better spent getting drug dealers meth cooks thiefs DUI drivers and other forms of trash off the street.With the price of gas and food a ATV sounds like a way to save a few $ on some things.If people would use their heads and ride like they got a brain I dont have a problem with Atvs ON THE ROAD.In a few more years we all a be riding Atvs motorcycles bicycles maybe even the old horse and buggy with our economy the way it is[its not getting any better].Like i said earlier if people used their brain on these things these wrecks could be avoided[unless you see a KSP trooper or a Smokey Bear forest warden
  • by 4wheelingforlife Location: Turkey Foot Ky on Sep 10, 2008 at 08:54 AM
    Heres some fact for the anti ATV whiners!From 1982 till 2006 they WERE 367 deaths from ATVs in ky.From 1982 to 2002 they was 225.From 2003 to 2006 they was 142.From 1982 to 2002 there was 60 deaths for riders under 16.Now Anti Atv whiners one question for you all how many died in vehicles during that time more than 367 in 1 year no doubt.Go to Kentucky Atv Laws on your computer look up the facts the truth a hurt you all.Also ANYONE UNDER 12yrs can not ride over a 70 cc ATV under 16yrs a 90cc atv 16 yrs and under only under parent supervision.Atv use on a public road is prohibited except to cross road or agricultural use.And for dd comment i agree the cops here STOP WHO THEY WANT TO STOP they a write 1 a ticket while 5 more go riding by.And cops do use force to stop an ATV State and the foresty cops why because they can get by with it.The Atv should not be on the road but does that give a cop a reason to wreck one and maybe cause a death.This is Ky though the law does what they want to
  • by Milstone Location: eastern on Sep 10, 2008 at 06:57 AM
    I agree about the gas and there are alot of atv's why stop one??? and if this was my family member and I was hearing a different story then what the police was saying then I would be doing just what this family is doing wanting to know the truth. Think about it you are told differrent story wouldn't you want to know the truth to?
  • by neon Location: kentucky on Sep 10, 2008 at 12:50 AM
    I just saved a bunch of money by switchin to a fourwheeler cheap on gas an no insurance ride to be free an live free so u people quit cryin drugs is the biggest problem in the state an stealin so cry me a bucket full an get over it we see these two well they still alive so dont worrie
  • by dd Location: eastern on Sep 10, 2008 at 12:13 AM
    atv's are all over eastern ky roads and towns but only a few can get by with it all the others get chased or run down by the law think about it
  • by Anonymous Location: Pikeville on Sep 9, 2008 at 02:31 PM
    Four-wheeler wrecks in Eastern Kentucky are an everyday headline. Someone is killed or hurt from them weekly because of stupidity on the drivers part. They are driving illegally on roads, drunk, or driving eratically. I know Trooper Campbell and I know he was just looking out for the welfare of others. For one thing, it was printed in the paper a couple of weeks ago that the amount troopers employed by the state was the lowest in history. Troopers are understaffed and have a vast area to protect and patrol. Think about how much responsibility that these men and women have on them and appreciate that they are trying to keep our children safe. What would you have done? Would you want a man on a four-wheeler in the dark driving on a highway with you coming the other way and your children in the car? Think about who is in the wrong here. Trooper Campbell probably stopped a bad or deadly accident from happening.
  • by crazy Location: ky on Sep 9, 2008 at 02:00 PM
    This is a cover up. If the state police lights were on, then his cruiser should have a video. If they aren't producing a video, then... yep , no doubt about it, its the good ole bOy system in ky.
  • by Rose Location: Hazard on Sep 9, 2008 at 01:57 PM
    I don't think the trooper should have been that close to him. I mean common, isn't safety suppose to be their first priorty. I bet if the trooper new the man he would have let him go right on. If anyone should get in trouble, the trooper should face charges to.
  • by a mom Location: Kentucky on Sep 9, 2008 at 12:40 PM
    The trooper probably turned his lights & siren on as soon as he saw the ATV as he approached him. Have you ever seen a cop turn on someone? Most of us have-probably in the rear view mirror. If it is a narrow road I'm sure when he passed the ATV he had to drop off the road a little in order to make the turn. I'm sure the collision was not the fault of the trooper. I doubt any of them want a vehicle crash that will likely result in some low life trying to sue them & the state. This man was not only on the road illegally, he was out at night. Had the man been drinking? I'm glad this trooper saw him before he caused a wreck with someone totally innocent. I'm sorry the man was hurt, but he could have caused a far worse accident.
  • by Denver Location: Hazard on Sep 9, 2008 at 11:56 AM
    I say charge this person for wreckless operation on a public road---send a message that the public is tired of being run over by these ATV operators on public roads.
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