TFC Jay Thomas
Public Affairs Officer
Kentucky State Police
Post 1, Mayfield
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Injury Collision on I-69
Date of News Release: 08/24/2012
KUTTAWA, KY: -- A single vehicle injury crash involving a diesel tractor and fully loaded semi-trailer occurred today on the off-ramp from I-69 (formerly Western Kentucky Parkway) west to I-24 East. At approximately 1:30 PM, Kentucky State Police Mayfield Post dispatch began receiving 911 calls of an overturned tractor trailer on the east bound on-ramp to Interstate 24, two miles east of Kuttawa. Michael J. Branstetter (38) of Versailles, Missouri, was operating a 2007 Volvo tractor/semi-trailer combination owned by Arctic Express of Hilliard, OH. He was transporting a shipment from Ohio to Texas when the crash occurred. As Branstatter was ramping from I-69 onto I-24, he lost control of his vehicle in the sharp curve. The semi struck the guard rail before flipping over and leaving the roadway. The vehicle continued forward, and overturned, coming to final rest in a grassy field adjacent to the off ramp. The semi was completely destroyed, and its load of dish washing detergent and other household cleaning products were strewn over the area. Branstetter, who did not appear to have been restrained by a seat belt, was severely injured. Passing motorists, including a nurse, rendered aid to him until emergency crews arrived. Lyon County EMS and rescue crews worked to stabilized Mr. Branstetter until an air ambulance, PHI stationed in Paducah, arrived on scene. Branstetter was subsequently airlifted by PHI to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville with multiple head lacerations and other injuries. The crash remains under investigation by KSP Collision Analyst Master Trooper C.G. Anderson and Trooper T.J. Williams. Both Troopers were assisted on scene by KSP Commercial Vehicle Enforcement units, and the Lyon County Sheriff. The collision remains under investigation, but it appears a combination of excessive ramp speed and driver inattention are key factors. Although the ramp was never closed to through traffic, cleanup of the crash debris continued for several hours by Stinnetts Towing.