Rock Slide Damages Several Vehicles

By: Dara Rees Email
By: Dara Rees Email

Across our region, we've seen more and more rock falls and mudslides due to shifting temperatures. Saturday night, witnesses say falling rocks covered both lanes of Highway 15 in Knott County damaging at least nine vehicles. Witnesses believe some of those accidents could have been prevented.

Transportation officials say warm temperatures causes ice inside the rocks to melt and when the ice melts, rocks fall.

"We were coming back from Hazard and coming up by Red Oak Mountain, it rained rocks on us," said Wendell Cook.

"Rocks just started plummeting off the left side of the hill onto the truck," said Alicia Cook.

Around 8:00 Saturday evening, the Cook's say rocks falling from the northbound side hit their windshield and bumper and punctured a hole in their tire.

Witnesses say rocks and debris covered both lanes of Highway 15 and it took more than 45 minutes for crews to come out and clean up the mess.

"Our biggest concern was that there were a lot of traffic going through and the cars were running into the dirt that was in the middle of the road," Alicia said.

"My concern was just why should it take 45 minutes for someone to show up," Wendell said.

The Cook's say they saw about 30 cars run through the rock covered road, many pulling over with flat tires, before crews made it to the scene. Cook is happy no one was seriously injured.

"I'm sure that when they write out the accident report, they'll write that I hit the rock, when the rock hit me," Wendell said.

After police and state highway crews arrived, nine cars filed accident reports from the damage.

We were unable to reach a supervisor with the Kentucky State Police for comment.

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