Judge involved in fatal crash


Judge Leigh Ann Stephens

COMBS—One man is dead and three others were taken to the hospital following a crash on Combs Road Monday night.

Trooper Jody Sims, public affairs officer with the Kentucky State Police (KSP) Post 13 in Hazard, released information on Tuesday morning regarding the incident.

KSP troopers received a call at around 7:50 p.m., on Monday, that a crash involving two vehicles had occurred on Combs Road in Hazard, between the bridge to Perry County Central High School and Turner Brothers Car Care Center. Troopers, detectives, and the Perry County Ambulance Authority responded to the scene, Sims wrote.

“Investigators at the scene determined that a 1997 Toyota Camry driven by Kevin Fugate, 40, of Hazard, was traveling south on Combs Road. Fugate’s vehicle crossed into the northbound lane where it struck a 2011 Toyota Versa being operated by 55-year-old Leigh Ann Stephens, of Hazard,” Sims said.

Fugate’s passenger, 42-year-old Della Friley, of Viper, was flown to the UK Medical Center where, as of 1 p.m. on Tuesday, was still in critical condition. Fugate was pronounced dead at the scene.

Stephens, who is the Perry County District Judge, and the passenger in her vehicle, 53-year-old Stephen Wireman, of Ridgecrest, Calif., were taken to the Hazard ARH for non-life-threatening injuries.

“Alcohol is believed to be a contributing factor in this collisions, with toxicology results pending for both drivers,” Sims said.

He added that seat belts were being worn by both Stephens and her passenger, however, were not being worn by Fugate and Friley.

An autopsy was scheduled for Tuesday at the state medical examiner’s office in Frankfort.

Amelia Holliday can be reached at 606-436-5771, or on Twitter @HazardHerald.

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