Commonwealth Journal

September 5, 2013

Two injured in Wayne County wreck recovering

by Heather Tomlinson
Commonwealth Journal

Lexington, KY. —

Two women injured Tuesday in a serious car crash that left two others dead continue to recover.
Jessica Whitaker, 28, of Somerset, and Veila Stephenson, 75, of Monticello, were both listed in serious condition at the University of Kentucky Medical Center as of 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to a spokesperson there. 
The three-vehicle accident occurred at around 1 p.m. Tuesday on Ky. 90 in Wayne County. Louanne Ellis, 57, of Somerset was pronounced dead by the Wayne County Coroner’s Office at the scene. Gladys Parmley, 69, of Monticello, was airlifted to the University of Kentucky Medical Center where she was pronounced dead by the Fayette County Coroner’s Office.
According to information provided by Kentucky State Police, the accident occurred when an eastbound 2002 Kia Spectra, driven by Eric Branscum, 25, of Stearns, Ky., rear-ended Whitaker’s 2003 Toyota Camry, which pushed Whitaker’s car into the westbound lane of Ky. 90. 
Whitaker’s car was hit in the passenger side by a 1992 Dodge Caravan, driven by Veila Stephenson, 75, of Monticello.
Ellis was a passenger in Whitaker’s vehicle, while Parmley was a passenger in Stephenson’s van.
Whitaker and Stephenson were both airlifted to the University of Kentucky Medical Center. Branscum, who wasn’t wearing his seatbelt when the accident occurred, was not hurt, according to published reports.
Whitaker, Ellis, Stephenson and Parmley were all wearing their seatbelts when the accident occurred, according to KSP. 
Wayne County Coroner Forrest Hicks said Ellis and Whitaker were traveling together for Bethany House, a local shelter for abused women. Staff members at the shelter have asked for prayers in the aftermath of the wreck. 
Hicks said Ellis was pronounced dead around 1:40 p.m., some 30 minutes after the accident was called in to the Wayne County 911 Dispatch.
Hicks on Wednesday said an autopsy was performed on Ellis, but he didn’t have any preliminary results to release. 
Whitaker is also engaged to a firefighter with the Somerset Fire Department, and Tiger Robinson, Public Safety Director for Pulaski County, said firefighters across the county are thinking of the couple as Whitaker recovers at UK.