Worley’s passing left a void at her school where an emotional memorial service was held just a few days afterward, but a lareger void was left in her family who had to say good-bye to a soul taken too early in life.
Five months later, on the afternoon of May 15 of this year, 20-year-old Nicholas Cory was traveling on Ky. 476 in Dwarf, along that same stretch of road. The road was wet, and according to information from the Kentucky State Police, Cory’s vehicle apparently hydroplaned before leaving the roadway, also striking a tree. He was pronounced dead at the Hazard ARH later that day.
While those tragedies can’t be reversed, efforts have been undertaken by one family to make that dangerous section of road in Perry County a little safer, and the results of those efforts were evident last week.
Following Worley’s passing last year, her mother and stepfather, Bonnie and Scott Thompson, began efforts to make that stretch of road safer in an attempt to ensure that accidents like those that took the lives of two young people weren’t repeated for again.
“We made phone calls pretty much on a weekly basis,” said Scott Thompson. Those calls were made to the state highway department in Jackson, to Rep. Scott Alexander, to Sen. Brandon Smith, to Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo’s office, to anyone who may be able to help.
Their mission was a simple one - get guardrails placed along that section of Ky. 476 where two lives were lost so that perhaps it wouldn’t happen again.
“It’s too late for us,” Thompson acknowledged, but added that it wasn’t too late for others traveling that road every day, and that was one notion that kept them moving forward and not letting up until officials took note and something was done.
By Wednesday morning of last week, it was clear those efforts, all those telephone calls, had paid off. Crews began the work, which took only a day to complete, and added a stretch of guardrails along Ky. 476. The work didn’t take long to put up far less than a quarter mile worth of guardrails. The impact it could have is unknown at this time, but for Scott Thompson it will be well worth the effort.
“I’m really proud of my wife for taking the initiative to get that done,” he said. “The next time somebody gets off the road and loses a wheel it’s going to save their life.”
“It was a bad spot up there that has caused us to lose two young, beautiful people,” added Sen. Brandon Smith, who said he had been contacted by the Thompson family and is appreciative of the initiative they took to help make that stretch of road safer for drivers in the future, and help prevent future losses like those they suffered last year.
According to H.B Elkins with the state highway department in Jackson, there is certain criteria involved in getting guardrails approved along the roadways, including accident history, and the Dwarf project was evaluated following a request and determined that it did indeed meet the criteria for guardrail installation.
Elkins noted that if anyone has information as to where guardrails need to be installed, they can contact the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet in Frankfort to submit a request, or do so locally. The telephone number to the Frankfort office is 502-564-4890. The number to the Jackson office is 606-666-8841.