Commonwealth Journal

July 3, 2013

1 dead, 4 injured in Ky. 39 crash

Victim survived by her 2 children, who were riding in family car

by Heather Tomlinson
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset —

Barbara Sears Emond hasn’t left her niece and nephew’s sides since late Tuesday evening.
Emma Miracle, 13, and Rich-ard Clay Miracle, 19, known as Clay to his family and friends, are both recovering at the University of Kentucky Medical Center after being involved in a serious car accident on Ky. 39 Tuesday night. 
“We just don’t want to leave them,” said Emond on Wed-nesday.
Emma and Clay, both of Somerset, were in a southbound 1992 Ford Taurus with their mother, Melissa Sears, 38, also of Somerset, behind the wheel when the Taurus collided with a second vehicle, a northbound 2006 Toyota van.
Melissa Sears succumbed to her injuries.
Carey Hughes, a resident of the Campground Road area, was waiting to pull out onto Ky. 39 from Campground at around 8 p.m. Tuesday when she saw the accident happen. 
Hughes said she watched, horrified, as the Taurus lost control and overcorrected, enter-ing into the path of the van. Hughes said the driver of the van even attempted to avoid the collision, but it was too late.
A report from the Somerset Police Department, which stayed on the scene through Tuesday evening to reconstruct the crash, confirms that Sears lost control of the Taurus, which crossed the center line on Ky. 39 before the collision. 
Hughes said the van “T-boned” Sears’ Taurus in the driver’s side. 
Hughes said she ran up to the van first, and that’s when the driver, still conscious, yelled at Hughes to call 911. 
“I went running down the road to see if the other drivers had phones,” said Hughes. 
SPD identified the driver of the vehicle as Michelle Smith, 40, of Crab Orchard. 
What ensued was a chaotic scene as bystanders worked to free Smith and a passenger in her van, Samuel Smith, who appears to be Michelle Smith’s son, along with Emma and Clay Miracle. All four were suffering from serious injuries sustained in the crash. 
Hughes said she felt that Sears had already passed away from her injuries by the time she was out of her car and trying to help those involved.
Pulaski County Coroner Chuck Godbey stated that Hughes was “probably correct” about that, and he noted that it appeared Sears suffered from a skull fracture in the accident. 
Sears was declared dead on the scene by Godbey.
Godbey said the cause of death for Sears will most likely be blunt-force trauma. He noted Sears was wearing her seat belt at the time of the crash. 
Emma and Clay Miracle and Michelle and Samuel Smith were airlifted individually to the University of Kentucky Medical Center. The four helicopters, all landed near the accident scene in an adjoining field, were provided by AirMethods, PHI, and AirEvac. 
A spokesperson with the UK Medical Center said that as of Wednesday morning, Emma and Clay Miracle were both listed in serious condition. Michelle Smith was listed in fair condition, and Samuel Smith was listed in serious condition. 
On Wednesday, Emond reported that Emma Miracle had suffered a hip fracture and a femur fracture. 
Emma Miracle was expected to undergo surgery Wednesday evening to insert a rod to stabilize her femur. 
Clay Miracle had endured some bleeding to the brain as a result of the accident, but Emond said his outlook improved drastically when doctors discovered that the bleeding had stopped on its own, which meant the 19-year-old would not need surgery. 
Emond said Clay Miracle also suffered injuries to his spleen, some internal bleeding, a broken femur, a broken collar bone and broken vertebrae. 
“They’re recovering, but it’ll be long-term for each of their injuries,” said Emond. 
Updates on Emma and Clay MIracle are being provided via a “Prayers for Emma Miracle” group on Facebook, which began not long after Tuesday’s accident took place. 
As of Wednesday afternoon, more than 800 people had “liked” the page and were following updates on Emma and Clay Miracle. 
The cause of the accident is still under investigation. Officers who first made it to the scene of the wreck Tuesday reported wet roadways, but investigators are declining to make any statements about what may have led to the crash until the investigation is complete. 
“We are investigating whether or not the wet roadway or the rain that was falling at the time played a part in the cause of the collision,” said Lt. Shannon Smith, with SPD. “The Accident Reconstruction Unit will attempt to estimate the speed of both vehicles, based upon the measurements, crush analysis of the vehicles, and the friction value of the roadway they compiled during their on-scene investigation last night.”
Lt. Smith said Emma and Clay Miracle and Michelle and Samuel Smith were wearing their seat belts when the collision happened.