TPR Lloyd Cochran
Public Affairs Officer
Kentucky State Police
Post 11, London
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DUI Fatal Crash on I-75 in Whitley County, KY
Tennessee Man Charged with 3 Counts of Murder
Date of News Release: 07/11/2007
(LONDON, KY) - On July 9, 2007, the Kentucky State Police was called to a motor vehicle crash on I-75 at the 10 mile-maker in the southbound lane. Preliminary investigation indicates that Raymond J. Garner, age 45, of Andersonville, Tenn., was traveling north on I-75 and crossed the median into the southbound lane. Mr. Garner's vehicle struck Peter. G. Pontikis' vehicle. Mr. Pontikis, age 46, of Park Ridge, Ill., was driving southbound on I-75 in a 2003 Ford Escape. Mr. Pontikis' vehicle was struck in the rear passenger door, fatally injuring a passenger (Gus Pontikis, age 8).
Mr. Garner's vehicle then overturned, striking Cindy Haas' vehicle. Cindy Haas, age 25, of Cleveland, Ohio, was traveling southbound on I-75 in a 2006 Dodge Caravan. Cindy Haas was fatally injured in the crash. Ms. Haas was in the third trimester of a pregnancy, resulting in the death of her unborn fetus.
Debris from Mr. Garner's vehicle struck Melvin J. Hodgins Jr.'s vehicle. Mr. Hodgins' vehicle remained in service.
Mr. Raymond J. Garner was treated and released from the Baptist Regional Medical Center and lodged in the Whitley County Jail. He was charged with DUI 2nd Offense, Murder (3 Counts) and Driving on a DUI Suspended License.
The crash is being investigated by reconstructionist KSP Trooper Greg Hill. Trooper Hill was assisted at the scene by Trooper Scott Bunch, the Whitley County Coroner, Whitley County Sheriff's Office, Williamsburg Police Department, Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement, Whitley County EMS, Williamsburg Fire Department, Laurel County Division of Public Safety Task Force 11, Knox County EMS and Woodbine Police Department.