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UPDATE: 4-year-old girl dead, several injured in major pile-up on Kentucky interstate

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Paducah law enforcement officials have released the names of those involved in a major pile-up that left one child dead and several injured over the weekend.

The westbound portion of Interstate 24 was closed for nearly seven hours Sunday after the incident. 

Nine vehicles, including one semi truck, were involved in the crash just before 10 a.m. Sunday according to information from the Paducah Police Department. The crash occurred at mile marker 3.

The Paducah Police released the names of the drivers involved:

  • Narinder Kumar, 32, of Glen Oak, New York, driving a 2022 KW Dart tractor trailer rig owned by KM Georgia Trucking of Johns Creek, Georgia
  • Michelle Wren, 38, of Franklin, Tennessee, driving a 2013 Toyota Highlander
  • William H. Brown, 54, of Murphy, North Carolina, driving a 2020 Toyota Tacoma
  • Frederick B. Kernan, 65, of Rock Island, driving a 2017 Subaru Outback
  • Douglas J. Kaeser, 56, of Crystal Lake, driving a 2012 Ford Explorer
  • Noah T. Spartz, 22, of Goodwin, South Dekota, driving a 2014 Ford Escape
  • Christopher Flach, 25, of West Paducah, driving a 2007 Dodge Ram pickup truck
  • Steven T. Fincutter, 28, of Elkhorn, Wisconsin, driving a 2013 Ford Explorer
  • Gerald Campbell, 50, of Sedalia, Missouri, driving a 2017 Chevrolet Traverse

Paducah police said officers were called at 9:47 a.m. to the westbound lanes of Interstate 24 near Exit 3. Kumar was driving a tractor-trailer rig west on the interstate and, according to officials, told officer Dana Davie that when he saw traffic stopped, he was unable to stop in time to avoid the collision.

The truck hit the rear of the 2013 Toyota Highlander driven by Wren, causing it to overturn. Wren was injured, and, according to Paducah Police, her daughter, Emery, was pronounced dead a short time later at Baptist Health Paducah by McCracken County Coroner Amanda Melton.

Wren’s other two children sustained “possible injuries,” according to the collision report.

Kumar’s truck then proceeded to hit the other seven vehicles listed above before coming to rest against the cable barrier in the median. Kumar was not reported injured, information from the sheriff’s office said,. Brown, Kernan, Kaeser, Flach, and Fincutter and his passenger, Abriel Odling, 28, of Elkhorn, Wisconsin, all were reported injured.

All were taken to Mercy Health Lourdes Hospital or Baptist Health Baptist for treatment except Kernan, who was flown from the scene by helicopter to an out-of-state hospital. He was listed in stable condition Monday morning.

All vehicles except for Spartz’s Ford Escape had to be towed from the scene, and debris littered the interstate for about a quarter of a mile. The interstate was closed for nearly seven hours, Paducah Police said.

The Paducah Police Department’s collision reconstruction team and detectives are investigating.

This is the second fatal crash on that stretch of Interstate 24 in just more than a month, officials said. Chief Brian Laird said the ongoing construction on the Ohio River bridge is a contributing factor in these collisions.

“We’ve been in contact with Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to ask them to assess the area to determine if there are other options regarding the approach to the construction zone,” he said in a news release from the sheriff’s office.

“It appears lack of attention is the main cause of this and most other collisions. Drivers need to be aware of their surroundings and pay attention to signage and reduced speed limits.”

Laird expressed his appreciation in the news release for all of those who assisted officers Sunday morning, including passers-by and other motorists who helped with the children at the scene, the Paducah and Concord fire departments, McCracken County Emergency Management and the McCracken County Sheriff’s Department.

isaac.smith@thesouthern.com

618-351-5823

On Twitter: @ismithreports

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