The crash was so violent it shut down a busy road for hours. A man was killed when investigators say his car slammed into a truck hauling pallets.
The collision happened late Thursday afternoon on US-25 in Laurel County just south of London. It's a route Jacob Burton drives two or three times a week delivering pallets his company builds. That's why it's still hard for him to believe what happened. "I just felt shock mainly," Burton said, "I'm still feeling shock right now as we speak, so it will probably hit me when I get home."
Investigators say they could tell from gouge marks that the driver of the Chevy Impala had crossed the center line before crashing into the flatbed truck. "The guy in front of me swerved to miss him," Burton said, "and I didn't see him. Too late. It was just split seconds."
Investigators say from the initial point of impact, the truck pushed the car about 35 feet. Burton had to crawl out of his passenger side window to escape the wreckage. "I saw a guy just pinned up against the steering wheel, not breathing or anything like that. I was sure he was dead," Burton said.
A coroner pronounced 36-year-old Rodney Byrd of Manchester dead at the scene, leaving Burton to wonder what might have happened if any number of factors had been different. "If I was in a smaller vehicle, I'd probably be
dead too. I could have been dead in this thing," Burton said gesturing to his truck, "if it had caught on fire, I would have been dead too."
The investigation into the crash continues, but officers with Commercial Vehicle Enforcement say evidence found in Byrd's car leads them to believe prescription drug use played a part in the crash.
WKYT has a crew at the scene. We'll have an update on the crash tonight on NEWSFIRST at 11.