WKYT Investigates | More than a dozen killed in recent wrong-way crashes in Lexington
Can anything be done to prevent more deaths?
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - A WKYT Investigates analysis found that at least 17 people have died in at least six wrong-way crashes in Lexington in the past two-and-a-half years.
- On Sunday morning, one person (identified by the coroner as the wrong-way driver) was killed in a crash on New Circle near Harrodsburg Road. That was the second fatal wrong-way crash in less than 24 hours.
- Six people - including four children - were killed Saturday afternoon in a crash on Interstate 75 when, according to investigators, a wrong-way driver hit head-on with a car carrying a family of five from Owenton.
- In April, the wrong-way driver was killed and a Lexington police officer injured in a collision on New Circle near Nicholasville Road.
- In February 2020, two people were hospitalized with minor injuries after a head-on crash on Citation Boulevard at Remington Way. This is the only wrong-way crash found in the WKYT Archives from this time period that did not result in a fatality.
- In September 2019, three people died and another person was injured in a crash on Interstate 75 near the southern split in Lexington. The driver, accused of being under the influence, was charged with three counts of murder after the crash. Police say the driver pulled a U-turn and began driving the wrong way on the interstate to avoid being captured during a police pursuit.
- In January 2019, six people - including a family of five from Michigan - were killed in a crash on I-75. Investigators say the driver in that case had a blood-alcohol content nearly four times the legal limit after getting on the interstate in the wrong direction and crashing into a car seven miles later.
Natasha Lacy, a spokesperson for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s District 7 Office, which oversees state and federal routes in the Lexington area, told WKYT’s Shelby Smithson in an email on Sunday afternoon that, in regards to the incidents on I-75 and New Circle Road, the Department of Highways will: “gather information including the police reports when they become accessible, along with any other details made available [and] investigate the areas where the incidents took place.”
Lacy said the state follows varying guidelines for signage based on the route. Those guidelines may be different for federal interstates or state highways, she explained.
Susan Straub, a spokesperson for Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton’s office, reiterated that the roads involved in this weekend’s crashes are the state’s responsibility, but added that city leaders are working with state officials “on a road safety initiative and plan to reach out specifically about these head-on crashes.”
Requests for comment from police and Lexington’s at-large council members went unanswered Sunday afternoon.
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