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One killed, four hurt in pair of accidents

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By Stephen Thomas

SHEPHERDSVILLE – Bullitt County emergency units remained busy Monday evening as two separate accidents led to a fatality and severe multiple injuries.

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Five vehicles were involved in the first accident, which occurred on Highway 44 East at Watergate Road shortly after 5 p.m. Three drivers were extricated from their vehicles and transported by two Stat Care helicopters to University of Louisville hospital.

The second accident happened just after 8 p.m. on Interstate 65 near the Highway 245 overpass. According to Bullitt County Chief Deputy Danny Thompson, the driver of a white Ford Ranger drove into the back of a slowed tractor-trailer.

The driver, Robert  Swarm, 42, from Nelson County, was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to Thompson, the tractor-trailer was slowed almost to a standstill due to I-65 lane closures beginning just south of the 245 southbound entrance ramp. Swarm apparently did not slow down.

Bullitt County EMS and Southeast Bullitt Fire units also responded to the scene. I-65 southbound traffic was rerouted to the Exit 112 ramp and back onto the entrance ramp. An investigation is ongoing.

Thompson also investigated the Highway 44 accident along with reconstruction units from Shepherdsville and Hillview Police.

According to Thompson, a black Toyota Paseo was headed westbound on 44, turning left onto Watergate. A maroon Dodge Durango was behind the black vehicle.

Thompson said a Mack log truck with a full load ran into the back of the Durango, knocking it into the Paseo. The Durango then crossed lanes, hitting a blue Ford Escape traveling eastbound.

Thompson said the log truck also crossed lanes, striking a white Mitsubishi Lancer headed eastbound.

The log truck's cab came to rest at the southeast corner of the intersection with the Lancer wedged underneath.

Mount Washington Fire units immediately worked to extricate the Lancer's driver upon arriving at the scene. MWFD Chief Michael Dooley said two sets of rescue gear were used on the vehicle.

According to Dooley, the Lancer was partially towed away from underneath the truck cab to assist with the extrication.

MWFD used a dash roll-up procedure, in which the bottom of the car was cut out and rams were implemented to push the dashboard up and forward, away from the driver.

The Durango and Escape came to rest in a yard at the southwest corner of the intersection. Both drivers were extricated by MWFD and Shepherdsville Fire units.

Thompson said the three extricated drivers, all females, received numerous injuries including multiple fractures in the pelvic area and extremities. He was uncertain if the injuries were life-threatening.

The Paseo's driver was transported by Bullitt County EMS to University. Thompson was unaware of the driver's status.

The driver and a passenger in the log truck, both white males, were not injured.

Thompson said the log truck was unable to stop because of the wet road conditions. Investigators were determining how quickly the other vehicles had stopped in front of the log truck.

Thompson added that the truck had a full load but was not over the 80,000-lb. weight limit requirement for the roadway.

Highway 44 traffic was shut down for three hours. Mount Washington Police units rerouted westbound traffic to Bells Mill Road, while Shepherdsville units turned drivers around near the city limits.

Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement and Kentucky Transportation Department units also responded to the scene. Fern Creek Fire units remained on standby for Mount Washington.