Truck driver was watching cell phone video in fatal Frankfort crash, police say

A Michigan man has been charged with manslaughter following a crash Sunday on Interstate 64 in Frankfort that killed one person.

The crash occurred around 5:30 p.m. on I-64 westbound near exit 58, according to Kentucky State Police. The interstate was closed for several hours Sunday night while police investigated the crash.

Jerry Elder, 45, of Flint, Mich. was ‘distracted’ while driving a tractor-trailer, state police said. Elder’s tractor-trailer struck the rear of a Jeep Liberty and the two vehicles then crashed into a Ford Explorer, state police added.

“He was distracted by his phone playing a video mounted on his dash and did not recognize the slowed traffic in time to avoid a collision,” according to an arrest citation.

Elder was also not wearing his prescription corrective lenses, which is required by his commercial driver’s license and medical card, according to an arrest citation. After crashing into the vehicles, his tractor-trailer traveled off the shoulder of the roadway into the grass and over a culvert.

The driver of the Liberty, 61-year-old Jeffrey Curtis, of Bedford, was pronounced dead at the scene by the Franklin County Coroner. Elder and the driver of the Explorer, 61-year-old Trina Summers, were both transported to the Franklin Regional Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries, according to state police.

When Elder was released from the hospital, he was charged with second-degree manslaughter and additional charges will follow, state police said. He has been placed in the Franklin County Regional Jail.

The investigation is ongoing by Kentucky State Police Post 12 detectives and collision reconstruction units.