Teen 9th killed in accidents

A highway crash killed another Bell County teenager — at least the ninth to die in traffic accidents in 2008, Kentucky State Police reported Wednesday.

Brooke Lambert, 15, a cheerleader at Middlesboro High School, was killed about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday in a two-vehicle accident on Ky. 74.

Another passenger, Whitney Brock, 16, was flown to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville with serious injuries, police said.

Brock was listed in fair condition at UT Medical Center Wednesday night.

Kentucky State Police said this week that 811 people had died on Kentucky roadways this year as of Sunday.

Police said Lambert and Brock were passengers in a Volkswagen Jetta heading east on Ky. 74 near downtown Middlesboro. The vehicle crossed into the westbound lane, collided with a pickup and rolled over on the side of the road, police said.

The driver of the Jetta, whom police didn't identify, sustained minor injuries. The occupants of the truck also weren't seriously injured.

State Police Trooper Tyson Lawson was investigating the cause of the crash, but it appeared that the Jetta might have been going too fast, said State Police Sgt. Damon Gayheart.

Alcohol and drugs weren't suspected, Gayheart said.

Lambert, who was thrown from the vehicle, was pronounced dead at the scene by Bell County Coroner Clyde Creech.

Her body was taken to Creech Funeral Home in Middlesboro, where funeral arrangements were incomplete Wednesday.

Because Lambert was ejected from the car, investigators at first thought she wasn't wearing a seat belt, but findings by the coroner suggest she might have been, Gayheart said. That has been difficult to determine because of the condition of the car, he said.

"The damage to the Volkswagen Jetta was absolutely horrendous," Gayheart said.

Most of the passenger side of the vehicle was crushed.

This comes less than a month after four teenagers who were either Bell County High School students or graduates died in an accident near Pineville.

Daniel Campbell, 15, of Blackmont; twins Jessica and Wesley Ingram, 16, of Pineville; and Jonathan Miracle, 18, of Miracle died Dec. 6 when their car smashed into a coal truck on U.S. 25 East.

State police said slick roads were a key factor in that accident.

In January, four other Bell County teens were killed in a fiery crash on Ky. 92.

The victims were Shawna M. McCreary, 16, of Ingram and three 18-year-olds: Stephanie M. Wilder of Pineville, and Eric B. Ogan and Wesley A. Cole, both of Arjay.

State police said they died when their car slammed into a tree.

Gayheart, of the state police, said Bell County didn't see a spike in the number of accidents in 2008 but sustained more than its share of tragedy because the cars involved in the wrecks had so many passengers.

"From an enforcement standpoint, I don't know what we can do to combat that," he said.