BELFRY, Ky. - Traffic on U.S. 119 was backed up for approximately 1 mile in both the north and south bound lanes near the Belfry Home Show mobile home business Thursday afternoon, after a tractor-trailer with an approximate 60 foot bed fully loaded with logs overturned, sending the driver to a local hospital.
According to troopers with the Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement Division of the Kentucky State Police (KSP), Jerry Pauley, 42, of Whitesburg, Ky., allegedly lost control of the log truck as he was traveling north bound on U.S. 119 at approximately 12:30 p.m., after the load he was carrying allegedly shifted its weight more toward one side rather than staying evenly distributed.
Ray Porter, a South Carolina resident, was traveling southbound toward Pikeville when he witnessed the accident.
“Right when I glanced into oncoming traffic, I seen the 18 wheeler start to lean, and it came crashing down on its side and scattered the load of logs he was hauling all over the roadway,” stated Porter. “I quickly came to stop and ended up only about 5 feet or so from one of the logs that had landed in my lane.”
“A few more feet and he would have taken me and my car with him.”
The tractor-trailer came to rest against the northbound guard rail with the rear end stretching across the 2 lanes of traffic, reaching as far as the median. A large piece of equipment had to be brought to the scene to remove the 60-70 ft. logs from a stretch of road that was over 150 yards long, and a tow truck used for tractor-trailers, buses, etc. was called in to put the log truck back on its wheels and off of the roadway.
“As much traffic as there is that travels on U.S. 119 at any given time of the day, it’s a sheer wonder that there weren’t other vehicles involved in this accident,” remarked KSP Vehicle Enforcement Trooper J. Fields. “This situation could have been a lot worse than what it was.”
Pauley was transported to the South Williamson Appalachian Regional by Appalachian Response where he was treated for injuries sustained in the accident. No citations were issued.
The Belfry Volunteer Fire Department responded to the scene and provided traffic control, patient care and assisted with cleaning up the debris scattered along the 4-lane. U.S. 119 was basically shut down for approximately 30-45 minutes until 1 lane could be cleared. All lanes were reopened after 2 p.m.