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UPDATE: Police say semi driver held in fatal I-64 crash was watching video

Posted: 5:44 AM, Sep 30, 2019
Updated: 2019-09-30 18:29:39-04

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — Police said Monday that a semi driver charged in a fatal crash on Interstate Highway 64 was watching a video on a cellphone when he slammed into two vehicles.

Authorities said 61-year-old Jeffrey Curtis of Bedord, Kentucky, was pronounced dead at the scene Sunday.

Police arrested 45-year-old Jerry Elder Jr., of Flint, Michigan, who they said was driving a semi tractor-trailer when he crashed into two cars from behind. According to his arrest citation, Elder was distracted by watching a video on his cellphone at the time of the crash.

The crash occurred about 5:30 p.m. in the westbound lanes of I-64. Police said traffic was backed up for two miles because of construction.

Elder and the driver of the other struck vehicle were taken to an area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, officials said.

I-64 was shut down for several hours while crews investigated the collision, which caused major traffic delays.

This incident happened near a work zone. State Police want drivers to be aware of those conditions on the interstate.

“There are a lot of weekends that might require traveling, maybe fall breaks or holidays approaching. just pay attention. If you see any work zone signage, they will be posted several miles in advance. Just be cautious as you approach that, slow down."

State Police say the crash happened as a result of distracted driving. The driver of the truck, 45-year-old Jerry Elder, Jr of Flint, Michigan, is charged with second degree manslaughter. Additional charges will come at a later time.

Distracted driving is dangerous. Here are some statistics on how taking your eyes off the road can have deadly consequences.

Distracted Driving Statistics 2018 - Kentucky

  • 50,000 crashes
  • 15,000 injuries
  • nearly 200 deaths

Construction zone crashes 2018 – Kentucky

  • 1,042
  • this is a 3% rise from the previous year
  • rear-end collisions are the most common type of crash in work zone incidents

v The best advice KYTC has for motorists is to drive without distractions and to slow down.