HARDIN COUNTY, Ky. (WBKO) -- UPDATE: I-65 Fatal in Hardin County
Elizabethtown, Ky. (September 27, 2019) – Kentucky State Police Post 4 Troopers responded to a multiple vehicle collisions in Hardin Co. early Monday morning. On September 27, 2019 at approximately 1:20 a.m.. EST, KSP Post 4 received a call from Hardin County Control of a collision involving multiple tractor-trailers and passenger cars on I-65 southbound at the 79-mile marker in Hardin County. The preliminary investigation revealed five commercial vehicles and two passenger cars were involved in the collision.
It was determined that one of the passenger cars traveling southbound for unknown reasons, lost control and went into the path of a semi tractor-trailer grain truck causing the passenger car to overturn after being hit by the semi. The passenger car was struck by another semi that resulted in a chain reaction with two other semis and another passenger car. The driver of the first passenger car and one of the semi drivers were flown to University of Louisville for life threatening injuries and was last listed in critical but stable condition. The other drivers involved were transported to Hardin Memorial Hospital for non-life threatening injuries.
At approximately 7:06 a.m., Michael W. Surber (47) of Sharonville, OH, operating a Fed Ex semi with tandem trailers was stopped in the right lane due to the other collision that had traffic stopped. Mickey E. Williams (42) of Salyersville, KY operating a 2013 Chevrolet Pickup failed to observe the Fed Ex semi stopped before colliding with the rear trailer.
Williams was pronounced deceased at the scene by the Hardin County Coroner’s Office. Surber was uninjured and did not require medical attention. A co-driver of Surber’s vehicle was taken to Hardin Memorial Hospital for non-life threatening injuries and later released.
I-65 southbound between the 86 and 76-mile markers was shut down for nearly 12 hours to allow troopers to reconstruct both collisions. The Hardin County Sheriff’s Office, Glendale Fire Department, Sonora Fire Department, Hardin County EMS, Elizabethtown Fire Department, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and the Hardin County Coroner’s Office assisted KSP Post 4 at the scene. The collisions are still under investigation by Detective/Reconstructionist Bryan Washer and Sergeant Adam Likins.
The incident at MM 79 is clear. All lanes are open but it will take some time for traffic flow to return to normal with vehicles backed up 4 to 5 miles.
A secondary southbound crash has occurred near Mile Marker (MM) 83. For clarification, the interstate is blocked at MM 79 and 83. Both locations involve fatalities so reconstruction is taking place at each incident scene. Estimated time to clear all blockages is now 5-7 hours.
The mandatory detour is now Exit 86 (Glendale) to US 31W and back on I-65 at the Exit 76 Interchange (Upton) to continue south.
Motorists stuck in the queue between each scene and an exit ramp are slowly being turned around.
Motorists approaching the area are strongly encouraged to plan alternate routes in advance of the mandatory detour. For those traveling through toward Bowling Green, the best option is Exit 91 to Western Kentucky Parkway Westbound, to I-165 Southbound and rejoin I-65 in Bowling Green. This route is only an approximate 20 minute deviation from a normal southbound trip down I-65 between the two locations.
Local traffic along US 31W and intersecting routes is also congested. Please be aware of increased volumes and use additional caution at intersections and entrances.
Given conditions of multiple commercial vehicles and personal occupancy vehicles involved and a high volume of traffic to manage on an interstate facility, emergency responders and assisting agencies are working as safely and quickly as possible to clear the area.
All southbound lanes remain closed from the early morning multi-vehicle crash just south of Exit 81 (Sonora).
Reconstruction is currently underway and there is no confident estimate on time to clear currently available.
A mandatory detour for all southbound traffic is set up at Exit 81.
Motorist will continue southbound via US 31W and rejoin I65 at Upton which is Exit 76.
As traffic increases through the morning, more lengthy delays are to be expected.
Be prepared for stopped and/or slowly moving traffic ahead as you approach the vicinity.
13 News will update this story with more information.