SHELBYVILLE, KY (WAVE) – The names of the men killed Monday when a semi struck them in Interstate 64 in Shelby County have been released.
Jeff Ibers, a Shelby County deputy coroner, said Charles Burtt, 71, of Broad Run, VA, and Jamaal Wood, 33, of Louisville, were both outside their vehicles when they were hit just after 11:30 a.m. on September 9.
Authorities said Burtt, who was traveling with his wife in their Honda minivan, and Wood, who was driving his Chevy work van for SCM Life Oxygen, each stopped their vehicles on the left shoulder at the 38.2 mile marker to try and help after coming upon an accident that happened moments before between a semi and a box truck.
Shelby County Sheriff's Office Major Jason Rice said before Wood or Burtt could call 911, another semi, while trying to avoid the stopped box truck, quickly switched lanes, and ended up hitting both of the men's vans, which were parked partially on the Interstate. Both men were hit and killed.
"It's probably in my 17 years the worst accident that I've actually seen on the interstate as far as the totality of everything that was involved," said Major Jason Rice, Shelby County Sheriff's Office.
According to the coroner, Wood had just become a father. Burtt's wife remained in the van and was calling 911 about the crash when the two vehicles were hit from behind by a second semi. She was taken to an area hospital for treatment for injuries thought to be non-life threatening.
"Those people were playing the Good Samaritan roles, they were trying to help in any way they could and unfortunately you can't hardly do that on the interstate, it is just so dangerous out here," said Rice.
"We of course encourage people to stop and render aid, but obviously you've got to keep in mind that you have to be safe, too, or you can't render aid," said Rice.
While the pain of sitting in traffic can be brutal, hearing what happened is much worse.
"I couldn't imagine," said driver Jeff Eddy. "I have nightmares about stuff like this. I don't even like to think about it."
Six vehicles were involved in the two accidents. Traffic was diverted onto U.S. 60 while Interstate 64 was shut down for more than 10 hours.