Accident victims#8217; conditions upgraded

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 21, 2008

SOUTH POINT — The condition of a driver and his passenger in a two-vehicle rush hour accident Friday morning has been upgraded.

Both Paul Shelton, 34, of Ashland, Ky., and Bridget Watkins, 26, of Russell, Ky., were listed in good condition at Cabell Huntington Hospital this morning, according to Chris Koenig, hospital spokesperson.

Shelton was driving an older model minivan when it crashed into the rear of a semi cab driven by Jackie Ferrell, 70, of Ona, W.Va. The accident happened at 7:35 a.m. in the eastbound lane of U.S. 52 and slowed traffic for miles.

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Traffic was stopped at the light at the intersection of U.S. 52 and Sam’s-Wal-Mart Way. The semi was preparing to stop when it was struck by the minivan, according to the investigating officer, Trooper Rob McClelland of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Shelton told the trooper that he did not realize how slowly the traffic was moving at the intersection. He was driving with his cruise control engaged at 52 miles an hour, the trooper reported.

The impact broke the hood of the minivan into the rear of the semi.

All three were transported to Cabell Huntington, where Ferrell was treated and released in the emergency room. Shelton and Watkins were initially in serious condition at the time of their admittance to the hospital.

Shelton was cited for failure to maintain an assured clear distance, according to McClelland.