Volunteer FD, KYTC officials clash over emergency scene closure - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Volunteer FD, KYTC officials clash over emergency scene closure

Supporters in Grayson County feel their concerns may not be heard after a confrontation with a transportation official the same day as the fatal crash. (Source: WAVE 3 News) Supporters in Grayson County feel their concerns may not be heard after a confrontation with a transportation official the same day as the fatal crash. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Fallen Glendale volunteer firefighter Jonathan French Fallen Glendale volunteer firefighter Jonathan French
Clarkson Fire Assistant Chief Ken Lashley (Source: WAVE  3 News) Clarkson Fire Assistant Chief Ken Lashley (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Chris Jesse (Source: WAVE 3 News) Chris Jesse (Source: WAVE 3 News)

CLARKSON, KY (WAVE) - You may have seen the Shut It Down campaign spreading fast on social media after the death of a Hardin County volunteer firefighter. The idea is to close interstates as soon as any type of emergency happens so first responders don't have to work alongside traffic. Supporters in Grayson County feel their concerns may not be heard after a confrontation with a transportation official the same day as the fatal crash.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet officials will meet with first responders in Grayson County to discuss traffic control at accident scenes. It's an important discussion that comes at a time when the death of Lt. Jonathan French is fresh on a lot of minds.

[PREVIOUS STORY: Glendale fire chief: 'A thousand thank you cards not enough' after firefighter's death]

Clarkson Fire Assistant Chief Ken Lashley says he's fully aware of the dangers of their job, but it became even more clear one week ago when French was hit and killed by a semi on Interstate 65 while there for car fire. That same day the Clarkson fire chief updated the department's standard operating guidelines to allow the closure of all lanes of traffic it deems necessary for safety.

"If there's one lane of traffic open on that road people won't slow down, they will come by us running 70 to 80 mph," said Lashley. "People have no respect for red lights or yellow lights."

Just hours after French's death, Lashley and his crew were called to an accident scene on the Western Kentucky Parkway after a pickup truck pulling a 25 foot trailer flipped on its side.

"We deemed that the road needed to be closed for the safety of everyone involved and that's what we did," said Lashley.

Lashley says a Kentucky Transportation Cabinet official showed up to the scene asking to open the road.

"He got pretty irate and some words were exchanged," said Lashley.

Chris Jesse, with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, says in the Bluegrass one agency can't necessarily trump another, but they usually take direction from the law enforcement agency investigated.

"When the emergency is over, we have an urgency to get traffic moving to get them off the road, get them detoured, get them on their way, so they aren't stopped back there in the danger zone," said Jesse.

Stopped traffic, said Jesse, can sometimes cause secondary crashes that are even more serious than the first. Jesse agrees safety is key and that's why it's important to meet with all emergency agencies to make sure everyone is on the same page.

"We do these in different counties throughout our district at different times and while the timing may seem a little ironic with recent events, we've had this meeting in the works for sometime," said Jesse.

The meeting will take place at 10 a.m. Aug. 14 at the Grayson County EMA office.

Copyright 2014 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly