Family injured when van overturns on I-30
Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

July 9, 2004 -- A family's trip east from Dallas to Kentucky was tragically halted Friday morning when their van overturned near the Weaver exit on Interstate 30 east.

A 6-year-old boy who was ejected from the family van into a bar ditch was flown in a LifeStar helicopter from the accident scene to Children's Hospital in Dallas, while four of the five adults in the vehicle were taken by ambulance to Hopkins County Memorial Hospital.

According to emergency dispatchers, the accident was first reported at 9:28 a.m. Friday by a number of passing motorists.

Four of those motorists, included the father-son Penske truck driving team, John Kelley and Johnny Kelley II; James Poe, who was driving a box trailer east behind the van; and a woman in a passenger car stopped to lend assistance while numerous others called 911 on their cellular phones to report the accident.

"We were headed home from Little Rock, Arkansas, when we saw this," John Kelley said. "I stopped and he [Johnny Kelley II] got out and ran across both lanes to get there."

Johnny Kelley II, who is a member of the volunteer fire department in Scurry, said he began dialing 911 to get assistance for the people in the van as he was crossing first the westbound lane, then the median and eastbound lane to get to the bar ditch south of the roadway. His father drove the truck down the road to the next exit, arriving back at the scene a short while later.

James Poe witnessed the van overturn, then rest upright facing south in the bar ditch. He said he stopped his truck as quickly as the brakes would allow, called 911 and got out to help about the same time as Johnny Kelley.

Johnny Kelley and Poe both said as they arrived, a woman had stopped on the roadway and was waving her arms and another appeared to be attempting CPR by applying chest compressions to the 6-year-old.

"When I got there the boy was laying there, screaming for his mom," the Scurry volunteer fireman said, gesturing to a spot in the bar ditch where the boy had been laying after being ejected from the van. "I tried to keep him still and laid down until they [Emergency Medical Services and first responders] arrived. He looked like he was having trouble breathing."

Firefighters from Brinker and Pickton-Pine Forest Volunteer Fire Departments and Hopkins County Fire/Rescue responded at the location to act as first responders with Hopkins County Emergency Medical Services personnel.

EMS crews placed four patients into ambulances, and advised emergency room personnel that the trauma team needed to be activated, as two victims were in critical condition. They also requested that LifeStar be notified to fly the 6-year-old boy from the scene to a Dallas trauma center.

The boy was placed in the ambulance, where ambulance workers began treating him for either injuries to his trachea or possibly his chest. He also sustained some lacerations and cuts on his arms and legs, but other injuries were unknown.

Hopkins County Sheriff's Office began directing traffic away from the accident scene. The LifeStar helicopter set down on the landing zone established with assistance from Dike Volunteer Fire Department.

State troopers, meanwhile, were talking to the one remaining passenger, a man who sustained an elbow injury, attempting to determine what caused the wreck. The man told them the family was traveling in the van east to Kentucky when he felt the car shake. The back left tire then blew out, causing the 38-year-old female driver to lose control of the van and the vehicle to overturn, said State Trooper Bill Reese.

The names of those involved in the accident had not been released as of noon Friday, as their families had not been notified.

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