It’s been 20 years since Ron and Peggy Gadoury lost their two sons in a three-car collision at an intersection on Joe Prather Highway.
When they talk about Michael Gadoury, who was 20, and Timothy Gadoury, 17, their continued grief is recognizable.
Sharing the story Friday of the tragic circumstances and what followed, Ron Gadoury’s voice cracked multiple times. The emotion was palpable.
The two Radcliff brothers, whose father described them as “regular guys,” were killed 20 years ago today in the three-car collision on Joe Prather Highway at the intersection of South Boundary Road.
Michael Gadoury, driving eastbound on Ky. 313, had slowed to make a left turn onto South Boundary Road. While he was stopped, his father said the car was struck from behind and pushed into the path of oncoming westbound traffic, where it was struck again.
The elder brother was killed instantly. The Gadoury’s younger son died about 30 minutes later after being transported to Hardin Memorial Hospital.
Ron Gadoury said the wreck happened no more than one mile from the family’s home. Ron and Peggy Gadoury had actually passed their sons in the vehicle about 10 minutes earlier.
“That’s the stuff that happens in the movies. You pass your sons and then get home and find out he died 10 minutes after you see them,” he said. “We came home to a ringing telephone just like in the movies. The house is dark, the phone is ringing and they are telling us not to go anywhere.”
Ron Gadoury said the intersection at South Boundary Road was dangerous 20 years and still remains so. When they asked for changes at the intersection early on, he said they were told there were not enough wrecks and traffic to justify a traffic signal there.
“I am literally a mile away from this intersection. My boys were killed within a mile of coming home. I look at that intersection almost daily,” he said. “I won’t come back the way they came back because I don’t want to get hit and killed like they were.”
Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 4 Spokesman Chris Jessie said Friday, the average traffic on Ky. 313 in that area is on the lower end of moderate at slightly less than 7,900 vehicles per day.
“If you want to give it some scale, the U.S. 31W intersection at 313 carries 26,300 per day. So 313 at the South Boundary location is about 30 percent of the U.S. 31W,” he said.
Peggy Gadoury said she thinks a double yellow line adds to the danger at the intersection. She said a double yellow line on a road normally stops and continues after an intersection. That is not the case at the South Boundary Road intersection.
Ron Gadoury also demonstrated Friday that motorists turning from South Boundary Road onto Ky. 313 have a blind spot when looking left to make sure its clear of vehicles. Several trees and the guardrail prevent proper vision, he believes.
According to Jessie, the only changes on Ky. 313 over the years has been resurfacing and routine maintenance. There have no significant geometric or striping/signage changes.
“We only maintain the 313 portion of that intersection, so with regard to South Boundary Road, it is not in the state road system and I have no information regarding maintenance or changes on the approaches,” he said.
“Our planning and design team keeps a close eye on crashes throughout the district, reasons for them and the data surrounding locations where they occur,” Jessie continued. “We want to create the best conditions possible based on safety, efficiency any available funding. It is a benefit for all of us. We work with local officials and welcome public input.”
After 20 years, the couple said they continue to want something done to make the intersection safer.
In addition, the parents also ask that more information be provided to families who might go through the same tragedy.
When they were informed by law enforcement of the collision and the death of their sons, Ron Gadoury said he and his wife had no idea what they needed to do. Distanced from their families, which lived in Canada and Florida, they had no local support.
“We had to make all of our decisions on our own with our own guidance,” he said.
“The night that my boys were killed I had to make a decision on which funeral home they were going to. I want people out there to understand that there is nobody out there to help the parents or the family. We had to go find help.”
Ron Gadoury, who spent 20 years in the U.S. Air Force, said he and his wife both sought counseling among other resources. But it was all things they sought on their own.
“We went looking for help and we used the help available but after a while everybody just tells you that is the way it is,” he said.
Peggy Gadoury said it would be helpful for police or other authorities to develop a fatality handbook, a guide for the families who go through this.
“We needed something for guidance. For police to provide to us, the victims or the family, however you want to look at it, a way to help,” Ron Gadoury said.
Michael Gadoury was a 1998 graduate of North Hardin High School, while Timothy Gadoury was getting ready to start his senior year at the school.
Ron Gadoury said both his sons enjoyed music, growing up on classic rock. Michael Gadoury had a passion for tattoos and Timothy Gadoury was into karate, earning his blue belt just a week before the wreck.
Peggy Gadoury said she got tattoos in honor of her boys. One of them she frequently updates, adding a star for each year they are gone.
“They were brothers. They took care of each other. They are missed by everybody that knew them. It’s just a shame that my wife and I have been grieving for 20 years and have unfortunately not gotten the support we thought we’d get,” Ron Gadoury said.