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Two of the three children involved in Tuesday night’s fatal crash on Joe Prather Highway remained in critical condition Thursday afternoon at Kosair Children’s Hospital. The 7-month-old was upgraded to stable condition.
The crash involved a Dodge Caravan driven by Kyle David Thompson, 24, and a Jeep driven by Ashlee Nicole Berry, 22.
Berry, who was returning home from work in Louisville, had just exited Interstate 65 and was heading toward Radcliff around 10:30 p.m. She was engaged to a soldier stationed at Fort Knox and had moved to the area from Las Vegas, officials said.
Police say Thompson had kidnapped the three children and their mother at knifepoint Tuesday. The two older children, ages 5 and 4, are the children of a U.S. Army soldier, from Hardin County who died in Afghanistan in July 2010, Spc. Nathaniel D. Garvin.
When the vehicle stopped in the 3000 block of Wooldridge Ferry Road, the mother escaped the van and called Kentucky State Police.
While KSP was at the home, Thompson drove down the road and a KSP trooper followed the vehicle and activated his emergency lights. Police say Thompson turned off Wooldridge Ferry Road onto Joe Prather Highway and a short time later, crossed the center line and struck Berry’s vehicle. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
The speed limit on that stretch of Joe Prather Highway is 55 mph.
An investigation into the crash is ongoing, KSP Post 4 spokesman Jeff Gregory said. He said it will take “a couple of weeks” to figure out how fast Thompson was driving at crash impact and what may have caused him to cross the center line and into Berry’s path.
Gregory said four reconstructionists are working the case, including two from another KSP post.
Thompson is under 24-hour watch at University Hospital in Louisville. He is hospitalized with several broken bones from the crash. He has not been charged from the wreck, but Gregory expects the case will go before the Hardin County grand jury on Thursday.
He is under arrest for failing to comply with the sex offender registry. He has been noncompliant since 2010 when he was found guilty of attempted kidnapping of a minor.
Jeff D’Alessio can be reached at 270-505-1757 or firstname.lastname@example.org.