An employee of the Barren County Sheriff’s Office died Wednesday after a single-vehicle accident on Ky. 90 west of Glasgow.
Ernest T. Franklin, 58, of Glasgow, was pronounced dead by T.J. Samson Community Hospital personnel, said Barren County Coroner Mike Swift, who is also director of Barren-Metcalfe County Emergency Medical Services. Franklin was a process server deputy with the sheriff’s office.
The sheriff’s office, along with the Glasgow and Cave City fire departments, the ambulance service and Kentucky State Police, responded to the scene just after 1 p.m. KSP is in charge of the investigation.
Franklin was traveling east on Ky. 90 when the Ford Escape he was driving left the right-hand shoulder. The SUV struck an embankment and tree stump before stopping in a small pond, according to a KSP press release. The pond is on the west side of Ky. 90, just north of its intersection with Flint Knob Road.
An autopsy is scheduled for Thursday in Louisville, according to the statement.
Deputy Mike Houchens, public information officer for the sheriff’s office, issued a statement Wednesday evening after the KSP release identified Franklin.
“The Barren County Sheriff’s Office is sad to report the loss of a dear member of our family,” the BCSO statement said. “Ernest T. Franklin passed away today while performing his duties with the Barren County Sheriff’s Office. The cause of death is currently under investigation.”
Bill Edwards of Northtown in Hart County was one of at least two witnesses at the scene, he said.
He was driving west toward Cave City when he saw a white Ford Escape that was traveling in the opposite direction leave the highway.
“I had pulled off on the opposite shoulder and when the vehicle was close enough for me to see through it, he was already off the roadway, and it appeared to be driverless, because he was slumped over (toward the passenger side),” Edwards said. “And that’s how we found him, too, when we got to him.”
The SUV bounced in and out of the roadside ditch before turning sharply to the right and heading up the driveway to a brick home, he said.
“I thought sure he was going to plow right into that house,” Edwards said.
The SUV missed the house and went through a wire fence, over a downed tree and continued into a field to the right of the house. It then made a sweeping right turn, coming back and crossing the driveway again, he said.
From there, the SUV went through a field in front of the home and back toward the road, Edwards said. Tracks were visible from that point through a clump of weeds. The SUV swerved to the right again before it came to the embankment alongside the road, made an arc and headed up another embankment before stopping at the edge of the pond.
Edwards said he never saw the driver sitting up and he didn’t see another vehicle hit the Escape.
Edwards and the other witness, who left after emergency responders arrived, went to check on the man. The other witness, who had called 911, popped the rear door and went through the back of the vehicle to check on the driver, who was unconscious and unresponsive but breathing at the time.
After emergency responders removed Franklin from the SUV, they appeared to perform CPR for several minutes before Franklin was loaded into the back of a pick-up truck, which carried him across the field to the driveway of the home, where an ambulance was waiting.
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