Wildfire Smoke Blamed For Trucker’s Death, 18 Vehicle Crash

“Zero visibility” conditions caused by a Kentucky wildfire are said to have contributed to the death of a coal truck driver in an eighteen vehicle pileup that left several people injured yesterday.

More than 30 wildfires in the southeastern U.S. have burned through 80,000 acres of land, prompting evacuation orders in some areas.

The series of crashes began just before 9 a.m. on Mountain Parkway in Powell County when a vehicle struck a coal truck. The coal truck driver, 65 year old Charles Turner, stopped and exited his truck to check on the driver who hit him. As he was doing so, a third vehicle struck him. This series of crashes caused a chain reaction pileup involving an estimated 18 vehicles.

Turner was pronounced dead at the scene.

Twenty people were treated on the scene by ambulances. Two people were airlifted with serious injuries.

Mountain Parkway was shut down in both directions for about 10 hours.

Buddy Rogers of Kentucky Emergency Management warns drivers that smoke from wildfires can drastically reduce visibility in a matter of moments: “It could be clear one minute, and the next minute there could be a shift in the wind” that pushes smoke across the road.

Sources:
Lex 18
WKYT
Kentucky.com