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Less than 24 hours after the opening of the new US 150 Bypass, an accident at the intersection of the new road claimed a life.
Mallie E. Freeman, 85, of Leitchfield, Ky., died as a result of a two-vehicle accident. Freeman was a passenger in a 2001 Pontiac Grand Am driven by Linda F. Nugent, her daughter, also of Leitchfield.
According to a report by Washington County sheriff’s deputy Jackie Robinson, Nugent was driving west on US 150 when she ran a red light and struck a tractor-trailer, which was headed north on KY 555. Robinson’s report said two witnesses reported that Nugent ran the red light before striking the truck.
The truck was driven by Robert Cote, 33, of Fort Fairfield, Maine. He was driving a 2011 Peterbilt truck, and was not injured. The truck received moderate to severe damage, according to the report.
Nugent and Freeman were transported to Spring View Hospital. Freeman was later pronounced dead, but no information on Nugent’s condition was available at press time.
According to Nugent’s pastor, Chester Shartzer of Clearview Baptist Church in Leitchfield, the two were on their way back home when the accident happened. He confirmed that Freeman was Nugent’s mother, and that Freeman had been visiting with family. Shartzer said as he understood it, Nugent was picking up Freeman and taking her back home.
The accident was tragic, but for the new bypass, not unexpected. Emergency officials anticipate accidents along the new bypass, especially at some of the roads that did not previously have traffic crossing them.
“We’re kind of expecting to have some wrecks,” said Kevin Devine, director of emergency operations for Washington County. “I think our major concern is the intersections where people are not used to stopping, especially with traffic coming through now. People are not used to traffic coming across Lincoln Park and Bloomfield roads, and they are the ones who have to stop. Any time you add anything new like that, there’s some possibility of a wreck happening. We hope they obey the signs and stop, and also observe their speed and the intersections.”