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Tuesday night accident shuts down parkway

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Driver in critical condition at U of L

By Staff

A four-mile stretch of the Bluegrass Parkway was shut down for about 17 hours following an accident Tuesday evening near the 22-mile marker eastbound.

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The westbound lanes reopened Wednesday morning around 8:30 a.m., and the eastbound lanes were open after 2 p.m.

The Nelson County Sheriff’s Office, Nelson County EMS, and Nelson County Fire and Rescue were called to the scene just after 9:30 p.m. on a report of an accident with ejection.

According to a press release from the Nelson County Sheriff's Office, a semi-tanker overturned in the median of the parkway. Sgt. Mike Clark was the investigating officer.

The driver of the vehicle, identified as 49-year-old Franklin Lawrence of Hurricane, W. Va., was transported to Flaget Memorial Hospital in Bardstown and later airlifted to University of Louisville Hospital with serious injuries. According to Sgt. Jason Allison of the Sheriff's Office, he was listed in critical condition.

Lawrence was driving for SK Transport of West Virginia.

Firefighters were called to the scene for fear of a hazardous spill, but it was determined that the liquid inside the tanker was not flammable. The substance was hyperlite polyol E-850, which is used in the manufacture of vehicle seat covers. Asst. Fire Chief Billy Mattingly said he didn't think the substance is classified as a hazardous material. It can, however, cause eye and skin irritation.

"We didn't see any leakage from the tank, so at that point, we were just standing by in case there was a rupture or a leak," Mattingly said.

Employees of Clean Harbor Environmental were on the scene of the accident around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, and had offloaded most of the 14,250 pounds of material into another tanker. A representative of the state Transportation Cabinet's Division of Incident Management was present. Mattingly said the substance would be sent back to the company in Hurricane, W. Va., that shipped it.

Following the accident, the parkway was shut down from mile marker 21 to 25, with traffic being diverted through Bardstown.

Throught Wednesday, the Nelson County sheriff's deputies, firefighters and environmental workers were still on the scene.

By 1 p.m., offloading the tanker had been completed and the vehicle was upright, but officials estimated an additional 2 hours before eastbound lanes would reopen.

An update from KTC District 4 said the wrecker operator was challenged with the angle of the crashed vehicle's position and the amount of damage to the tank.

At 3 p.m. Thursday, the hospital reported that Lawrence's medical condition had been upgraded from critical to serious.