1 dead, Ky. State Police trooper hurt after Interstate 71 crash in Henry County

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- One person died and a Kentucky State Police trooper is injured following a crash on southbound Interstate 71 in Henry County.

The crash happened around 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday on an interstate overpass near the 30 mile marker.

The person killed in the crash has been identified as 56-year-old John Crawford, according to Kentucky State Trooper Steven Dykes.

Authorities say KSP Trooper Mickey Gonterman was originally called to the scene to help Crawford, who was trying to corral dogs that were loose on the roadway. One of the dogs involved in the crash died, while another dog survived the crash. Police say Crawford came across the dogs and they did not belong to him. He was just trying to get them out of the roadway.

Police say Trooper Gonterman and Crawford were walking on the right shoulder of the roadway, when a passenger car in the left lane abruptly slowed. A semi and box truck traveling in the left lane quickly moved into the slow lane to avoid hitting the car. The semi hit the box truck from behind and jack-knifed across the roadway.

Trooper Gonterman fell about 30 feet from the bridge and initially sustained critical injuries. "It appears that he [the trooper] landed on the natural earthen embankment itself," Dykes said.

Dykes also said Gonterman is, "doing a lot better and is expected to recover." He has been with KSP for nearly 20 years. "It's hard when the injured person is someone you know. We just focus on the task at hand and we'll kind of deal with the emotional part later when we can," Dykes said.

Crawford was pinned under the trailer of the box truck and died. According to Dykes, Crawford was also a truck driver who had parked near the overpass to get the animals. But his truck was not involved in the crash. 

The driver of the box truck was transported to Baptist Health Hospital in La Grange for injuries not considered life-threatening.

Northbound lanes of Interstate 71 opened about 9:30 a.m. Southbound lanes remained closed until sometime before 7 p.m.. 

Police are urging drivers to increase their following distance so their reaction time can be greater if there is a sudden stop.

Police also say if motorists sees debris or animals in the roadway, they should call police and let officers take care of the issue. Drivers should not stop to try and clear up the situation.

According to police, rubbernecking is also a cause in a lot of crashes, though officials have not said that was a factor in this crash.

Police say there are currently no charges against anyone connected to the crash. Officials say it will be determined later if any charges will be filed.

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