Sunday, April 30, 2000

Man dies in wreck with cop

Ky. trooper hospitalized

By Susan Vela
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        BUTLER — A Kentucky State Police trooper suffered compound fractures to his right leg and ankle, plus a broken left arm, in a Friday night car crash that left another man dead.

        Trooper John Combs Jr. was on duty, driving a 1996 Ford Crown Victoria police vehicle north on U.S. 27, when a southbound car veered into his lane about 11:50 p.m., about a mile south of the Pendleton-Campbell County line.

        The crash killed David A. Jones, 29, of Foster, and injured Trooper Combs, 23, of Butler.

        Their vehicles ricocheted off each other and spun toward opposite ends of the three-lane highway. The speed limit along that stretch is 55 mph.

        “They hit and spun apart. It had to be a pretty hard hit ... to destroy (the cars) like they did,” said Phillip Hart, chief of the Pendleton County EMS, which used Jaws of Life to extricate the drivers from their vehicles.

        It took EMS staff about 10 minutes to extricate Trooper Combs, who was transported by helicopter to University Hospital.

        About 20 minutes passed before Mr. Jones was freed. He was unconscious while EMS staff extricated him. Mr. Jones was declared dead at the scene.

        Trooper Combs underwent surgery at University Hospital. He was listed in serious condition Saturday.

        KSP Trooper Mike Keeney said the officer survived because of his safety belt, bullet-resistant vest, and the car's air bag.


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