Transportation Officials Recommend Guardrails At Site Of Deadly Accident

By: Marie Luby Email
By: Marie Luby Email

Transportation officials are recommending guardrails at the site of an accident that killed two Harlan County Coal miners on their way home from work.

We hear from one of the victim's families, who pushed hard for safety changes.

Kevin Jewell's family still watches a home video of the intersection of Highways 221 and 2009, where he and Benny Blanton died two weeks before Christmas. Their car slipped off the road and landed in this creek.

“We had him for 31 years, and it's just hard to deal with. They got off work, and three miles down the road they're dead,” Kevin’s Father Kenneth Jewell said.

Kevin Jewell left behind a daughter and stepson.

“They all the time went fishing and stuff, hunting, you know just father and son bonding. You know their father can never be replaced,” Tina Jewell said.

“He would always stop by and say, 'Mom I love you.' and I'll never hear that again,” Kevin’s Mother Suvilla Jewell said.

The Jewell family thinks a guardrail might have prevented their son's death, and started more than one dozen petitions around Harlan County to gather support for the idea.

Preliminary findings of a traffic study showed few accidents here but highway officials now say guardrails would make the intersection safer.

The recommendation is now under review in Frankfort.

Highway officials say they need to raise the grade to correct a dip in the road before they can safely install guardrails.

They are waiting on approval from Frankfort, but say construction could begin as soon as next month.

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