by Jeff Neal
Two area women were killed in a three-vehicle collision Tuesday afternoon on the East Ky. 90 Bypass in Monticello.
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 on Ky. 90 in Monticello when an eastbound 2003 Toyota Camry, driven by Jessica Whitaker, 28, of Somerset, was rear-ended by an eastbound 2002 Kia Spectra, driven by Eric Branscum, 25, of Stearns, pushing her car into oncoming traffic.
Whitaker’s vehicle was pushed into the westbound lane of Ky. 90 and into the path of a 1992 Dodge Caravan, driven by Veila Stephenson, 75, of Monticello. Stephenson’s van struck Whitaker’s Camry in the passenger side.
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. A spokesperson at UK said Whitaker was in serious condition last night. There was no condition available on Stephenson at press deadline.
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.
“Please, just keep us in your prayers,” said Kristi Childers, executive director of Bethany House, on Tuesday afternoon.
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.
Traffic on the bypass was expected to remain closed until about 8 p.m.
Hicks said an autopsy is scheduled in Frankfort today to determine the exact nature of Ellis’s injuries.
Kentucky State Police said drugs or alcohol were not a suspected factor in the accident.