Commonwealth Journal

Local News

March 18, 2013

Suspected suicidal driver is charged with murder after fatal wreck

Deputy noticed suspicious vehicle just before Saturday crash

Somerset —  

One man is dead and another charged with murder following a weekend collision on west Ky. 80.
Levi Stephens, 33, of Somerset died as a result of the Saturday night crash, which occurred near the intersection with the Ky. 914 southwestern bypass, according to Somerset Police Department Lt. Shannon Smith.
The driver of the other vehicle, Justin Litton, 36, of Somerset, was charged on Monday with murder in connection with the collision. Smith said that investigators have learned that Litton intentionally drove his car into the path of Stephens’ vehicle in a suspected suicide attempt.
At 9:58 p.m., a Pulaski County Sheriff’s deputy was on patrol and noticed a black 1998 Nissan car parked in the lot of a closed business on Ky. 80, without its headlamps on.
“His normal crime detection work led him to investigate further,” said Smith of the deputy. “He recognized that (situation) as being suspicious, and shined his spotlight on it and recognized someone was inside.”
Before further investigation could be made, the vehicle — driven by Litton — left the parking lot (Smith said he believed the vehicle’s lights were on at this point) and headed eastbound, according to SPD.
The deputy was attempting to make a traffic stop to investigate the suspicious incident when the accident happened. Litton’s vehicle crossed the centerline just west of the intersection with WTLO Road, only a short distance east from where it had been parked, and struck a westbound white 2005 Suzuki driven by Stephens head-on.
The impact trapped both drivers in their vehicles, according to SPD, and sent Stephens' vehicle off the road, where it came to rest on the north side of the highway. 
Litton was airlifted from the scene via Air Methods and taken to the University of Kentucky Medical Center. As of Monday afternoon, he was listed as being in “fair” condition there, according to a hospital spokesperson.

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