Rachel BaldwinCivitas News Service
May 8, 2013
GOODY, Ky. – A total of five people suffered a variety of injuries after a Mercedes SUV slammed into three vehicles and two pedestrians who were customers at a roadside flea market on U.S. 119 at Goody, Ky. on Saturday.
According to information provided by Kentucky State Police Trooper J. Giles, the Mercedes was operated by Pennie S. Lowe, 47, (“aka” Pennie Young and Pennie Paul) of Chapmanville, and was traveling in the southbound lane of U.S. 119 when it veered from the highway and first collided with a Jeep Cherokee driven by Cassie Yates, 19, of Williamson, that was parked alongside the highway and then traveled for another 200-300 feet before striking pedestrians Heather Marcum and Samantha Gambill, a mother and daughter that were in the process of making a purchase from one of the vendors. Marcum suffered what was believed to be life threatening injuries. Upon impact, Marcum is said to have sailed through the air, striking her head on the windshield of a parked 2003 Chevrolet Impala owned by Jessica Cooper, and ended up trapped under another parked vehicle after the Mercedes crushed the Impala between it and a pickup truck. Gambill was grazed by the Mercedes and was knocked to the ground, suffering multiple contusions and abrasions. Cooper, who was a vendor at the location, received a hand injury that resulted from being struck by flying debris.
Upon making contact with Lowe, who escaped injury during the crash, Trooper Giles stated he found her to have drooping eyelids and bloodshot eyes with constricted pupils, and was said to have slurred speech. The defendant allegedly admitted to the trooper that she had taken both Hydrocodone (Lortab) and Alprazolam (Zanax) earlier that day before getting behind the wheel. Lowe failed to complete a field sobriety test and was transported to the Appalachian Regional Hospital (ARH) where she consented to a drug toxicology screening. A search of the SUV was conducted and several bottles of prescription pills were found, along with a small tin of pills. An undisclosed amount of marijuana was also discovered.
Eye witnesses spoke with the Daily News about how the accident unfolded, and according to Mark Curry, the father of Jessica Cooper, the impact sounded like a loud explosion.
“I was sitting on the tailgate of my truck with my daughter when the SUV hit the Jeep,” stated Curry. “If the Jeep hadn’t collided with the light pole it would have hit us. The only thing between us and the Jeep was that pole. I thank God for watching over us and keeping us safe.”
Nancy Farley, the mother of Cassie Yates, was so shaken by the turn of events she could barely speak without crying. Farley had just exited the Jeep approximately 1 minute before it was hit. Yates suffered a traumatic injury to her left foot and ankle which was outside the vehicle when it was struck. A 16 year-old male passenger riding with Farley and Yates was transported to ARH for minor injuries.
Marcum, who had to be removed from beneath a parked truck, had extensive injuries that included a concussion and multiple lacerations and severe bruising to a large percentage of her body. One of the worst lacerations was on her left ear that was almost served from her head during the accident. Gambill was severely bruised and shaken, especially after witnessing her mother slamming head first into the windshield of the Impala.
“I thought she was dead,” said Gambill. “When I see her hit the windshield and then roll under the truck that was struck by the Mercedes, I didn’t think there was any way she would survive. I’ve never been so scared in all my life.”
“All I can say is God was watching over all of us,” remarked Marcum. “If it hadn’t been for that, I don’t think I would have pulled through.”
Andrew Collins, the step-father of Yates, said that when he pulled up to the scene after receiving a frantic phone call from his wife and seen the shape the Jeep was in, he figured his step-daughter had been killed.
“I saw the door ripped from the Jeep and then I saw Cassie’s shoe with blood on it and I lost it,” said Collins. “I hope they punish the driver to the fullest extent the law allows. She could have very easily killed a multitude of people here today.”
Cooper’s car was listed at a total loss, as well as the Mercedes and the Jeep. Two other vehicles received minor to moderate damage. Numerous vendors reported damaged goods that resulted from either the crash itself or from being struck by flying debris.
Lowe, who told Trooper Giles she lost control of her SUV when she swerved to avoid colliding with a car that allegedly almost side-swiped her, was placed under arrest and was charged with DUI, 1st degree assault with a vehicle, possession of marijuana, 3rd degree possession of a controlled substance and prescription pills not in a proper container. She was transported to the Pike County Detention Center and was released from custody a few hours later when her full-cash bond in the amount of $20,000 was posted.
Members of the Belfry Volunteer Fire Department and the Turkey Creek Volunteer Fire Department, as well as Appalachian First Response Ambulance Service responded to the scene.