Brandenburg woman dies in five-vehicle wreck near Flaherty

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Crash on U.S. 60 involved Mack truck

By Sarah Bennett

Kentucky State Police Post 4 in Elizabethtown is investigating a five-car collision Tuesday morning near Flaherty that left a Brandenburg woman dead and another driver injured.

According to a KSP news release, Thomas A. Russell, 41, of Lebanon Junction, was westbound on U.S. 60 in a 1994 Mack truck.

Norman Chaffins, spokesman for KSP Post 4, said the truck was hauling U.S. mail but was not a U.S. Postal Service vehicle.

As he approached the intersection at U.S. 60 and Ky. 144, Russell failed to stop at a red light and struck the driver’s side of a 1999 Saturn, operated by Melissa Wilkins, 42, of Brandenburg, according to police. Wilkins was southbound on Ky. 144 and had a green light.

Wilkins was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

After striking the Saturn, police said the truck collided with a 2011 Ford Taurus driven by Gregory Willingham, 49, of Irvington, and then a 2007 Mazda driven by Rebecca Dean, 41, of Hardinsburg.

Both vehicles were eastbound on U.S. 60. Willingham was stopped at a red light while Dean was approaching it, according to the release.

Russell’s truck continued southwest and came to a stop in a corn field facing west, police said.

After being struck by the Mack truck, Wilkins’ Saturn was pushed into a 1997 Dodge pick-up truck driven by Allen Thomas, 52, of Guston, which also was eastbound and stopping for a red light on U.S. 60, according to KSP.

According to the release, Meade County Dispatch notified Post 4 about the wreck at 6:56 a.m.

Dean was transported to Hardin Memorial Hospital where she was treated and later released, according to police. No other injuries were reported.

Police said all occupants involved in the wreck were wearing seat belts. Neither alcohol nor drugs appear to be involved.

No charges have been filed at this time.

The wreck is being investigated by Trooper Brad Riley.

Sarah Bennett can be reached at (270) 505-1750 or sbennett@thenewsenterprise.com.