LAUREL, WHITLEY COUNTIES, Ky. (WTVQ) – Icy road conditions may have been factors in two fatal traffic accidents on I-75 that cl;aimed the lives of two Williamsburg men within of about two hours of each other in Laurel and Whitley counties.
In the first, a Williamsburg, Ky., man was killed early Tuesday in a two-vehicle crash on I-75 in Laurel County that may have been weather-related.
According to the the Kentucky State Police, at about 4:50 a.m. Tuesday, troopers responded to a two-vehicle collision that occurred on Interstate I-75 northbound near the 28-mile marker in Laurel County.
The initial investigation indicates a 2011 Volvo tractor trailer operated by 54-year-old Valentin Meica, of Gwinnett, Ga., was northbound on I-75, when he lost control of his semi, and struck a northbound 1998 Toyota car driven by 58-year-old Justin D. Shoopman, of Williamsburg, Ky.
As a result of the collision, Shoopman suffered life-threatening injuries, and died on scene, troopers said. Meica was not injured in the collision.
Drugs nor alcohol are suspected in this accident.
Trooper spokesperson Scottie Pennington said weather appears to have played a role in this accident since “there were many slick spots along the interstate overnight and there were several accidents along northbound I-75 in Whitley County due to black ice and near Corbin along the Whitley-Laurel County line.”
KSP Post 11 Trooper Larkey is continuing the investigation. He was assisted at the scene by Post 11 Personnel, the Corbin Police Department, Laurel County EMS, London ECO Tech, West Knox Fire Department, Laurel Fire Department and the Laurel County Coroners office.
In the second crash, at about 7 a.m., the Kentucky State Police Commercial Vehicle Division responded to a fatal crash on I-75 northbound near the 14-mile marker in Whitley County.
Upon arrival and though investigation officers, learned 40-year-old Boban Colic, of Phoenix, Ariz., operating a 2013 Freightliner tractor trailer south on I-75 when he lost control, crossed the median, and struck a 2000 Ford F-150 driven by 25-year-old George E. Martin, of Williamsburg.
Whitley County Coroner Andy Croley pronounced Martin dead on the scene, while Colic was not injured.
Slick roads and weather conditions also are believed to be direct factor in the crash.
I-75 was shutdown for several hours for emergency crews to clean debris from the road. A hazardous materials clean-up crew was also used to remove fuel that was lost from ruptured fuel tanks on the semi.
Assisting on scene were Kentucky State Police, Williamsburg Police, Williamsburg Fire Department, Whitley Co. Emergency Management, Whitley Co Coroner Office, and Kentucky State Highway Department. CVE officer Steven Douglas continues the investigation.