Kentucky State Police Trooper Kenny Sergent is investigating a fatal collision that occurred on U.S. 25E at Meldrum on Saturday.
KSP Public Affairs Officer Shane Jacobs said a preliminary investigation indicates that Frank Barnett, of Pineville, was stopped on the southbound shoulder of U.S. 25E in a 1967 Chevrolet cattle truck. Barnett attempted to merge into traffic and was struck by a 2000 Volvo road tractor operated by Nathan Bemis, of New Tazewell, Tennessee. The cattle truck then partially overturned, ejecting the operator causing fatal injuries.
Jacobs said Barnett was pronounced dead at the scene by the Bell County coroner. Bemis was transported to Pineville Community Hospital for a blood test but did not sustain any injuries.
The cattle truck overturned and some of the cattle were injured and running loose. Local residents brought trailers to the scene and assisted in getting the cattle loaded up.
Traffic was at a standstill for quite a while and was rerouted to Old Pineville Pike. At some point during the rerouting a tractor trailer got off the road in the ditchline on Old Pineville Pike, which caused traffic to be temporarily stalled on that road as well.
Sergent, who is also an accident reconstructionist, is in charge of the investigation. Assisting him at the scene were Troopers Roy Pace, Josh Cox, Joey Brigmon and Sgt. Jason Bunch. Also assisting were Bell County Fire Department, Bell County Rescue Squad, the Middlesboro Police Department, the Bell County Sheriff’s Office and EMS.