TFC Jay Thomas
Public Affairs Officer
Kentucky State Police
Post 1, Mayfield
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Fatal Collision on Interstate 24
Date of News Release: 11/18/2007
(PADUCAH, KY) At approximately 01:19 am Kentucky State Police received a request for assistance from the McCracken County Sheriffs Department who were on the scene of a fatal accident on Interstate 24 (I-24) near the Illinois state line.
Upon units arrival it was determined that a total of three (3) vehicles and one (1) commercial vehicle were involved in the accident. Preliminary investigation reveals that the fatal victim, 41 year-old Cecil Wayne Burnett of Grand Rivers, KY and his passenger 38 year-old Rebecca A Scott of Paducah, KY were sitting stationary in a 2005 Chevrolet, four door passenger car, in the eastbound Lane of I-24 near the Ohio River Bridge. At this time it is unknown why the vehicle was stationary in the eastbound lanes. A 2008 Garden semi tractor-trailer driven by 35 year-old Robert Wasleski of Blue Springs, MO struck the fatal vehicle. Upon impact of the 2005 Chevrolet, Burnett was ejected from this vehicle. Burnett's vehicle came to final rest in the left-hand lane of eastbound I-24 and the tractor-trailer came to final rest on the emergency strip. Burnett was fatally injured and pronounced dead at the scene by the McCracken County Coroner's Office. Scott was injured and transported by Mercy Regional EMS to Lourdes Hospital.
Scott and Wasleski were both wearing their seat belts. Burnett was not wearing a seat belt. Wasleski was not injured, however, he was subsequently charged with Driving on a Suspended Drivers License by Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement and was lodged in the McCracken County Regional Jail. A third vehicle, a 1996 Ford, four-door passenger car, driven by 18 year-old Kevin Mason, Jr. of Paducah, KY was traveling eastbound when he was unable to avoid a collision with the 2005 Chevrolet, that was at a final rest position from the initial collision. Mason was wearing his seat belt and was not injured. A fourth vehicle, a 2008 Pontiac Grand Prix, driven by Antonio Wharton, 27 years old, of Cadiz and his passenger, Terah Wharton, 26 years old of Cadiz were also involved in the collision. At this time Wharton's involvement in the collision is still under investigation. Both the driver and passenger of the Wharton vehicle were wearing their seatbelts. Mr. Wharton was not injured; however, Mrs. Wharton was transported to Lourdes Hospital by Mercy Regional EMS. The Wharton's vehicle came to final rest on the emergency strip.
Eastbound Lanes of I-24 were shut down for approximately six (6) hours. Mercy Regional EMS, McCracken County DES, Sheriff's Department, and Coroners Office, Concord Fire Department, Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement and Massac County Illinois Sheriff's Department assisted Kentucky State Police at the scene. The accident remains under investigation by Collision Reconstructionists, Trooper Tim Sales and Trooper First Class Barry Meadows.