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June 29, 2011

Teacher killed in tragic crash

Husband, other driver injured in two-vehicle wreck near Whitley City Elementary

WHITLEY CITY — The community was rocked last week by the tragic loss of a local school teacher.

    Nena L. Johnson, 39, of Pine Knot was killed instantly when the 2008 Ford Expedition in which she was a passenger crossed the center line of US 27 and struck a 2007 GMC Sierra head on.

    The accident — one of 12 across Kentucky involving fatalities according to preliminary statistics from the Kentucky State Police — occurred at approximately 1:21 p.m. last Tuesday afternoon just north of Whitley City Elementary School, where Mrs. Johnson worked as a special education teacher.

    According to KSP Trooper Phillip Hayes, who is leading the investigation, Anthony D. Johnson, 39, also of Pine Knot was in the northbound passing lane attempting to pass a tractor trailer when he entered into the path of the Sierra pickup, driven by 54-year-old Ronald C. Capehart of Knoxville.    

    Trooper Hayes is investigating some leads as to why Johnson crossed the center line, including at least one witness report that the tractor trailer forced him over.

    No alcohol or drug usage is suspected. All involved were wearing their seatbelts at the time of the crash.

    Mrs. Johnson was pronounced dead at the scene by the McCreary County Coroner’s Office. Mr. Johnson was airlifted to the University of Tennessee Medical Center and has since been released. Capehart was transported by McCreary County EMS to Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital in Somerset for treatment.

    Trooper Hayes was assisted by the McCreary County Sheriff’s Department, Whitley City Fire Department and North McCreary Fire Department. Anyone with information regarding this crash should contact KSP Post 11 at (606) 878-6622.

    In remembering Mrs. Johnson at Thursday’s meeting of the McCreary County Board of Education, Superintendent Arthur “Donnie” Wright said that she greatly served her students and the community as a whole.

    “She will be sadly missed,” he said.

    Funeral services for Nena Johnson were held Friday at the Pine Knot Funeral Home with burial following at the Bethel Cemetery. She is survived by her husband Anthony, daughters Erica Brown and Haley Johnson, sons Huntington and Tyler, parents Robert and Doris Meadors, as well as many other relatives, co-workers and friends.

    Complete obituary information can be found in this week’s edition on Page 6A.

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Hatfield Lane 22 marijuana plants

The McCreary County Sheriff’s Office seized a total of 22 marijuana plants Saturday evening from a residence on Hatfield Lane in Whitley City. That case will be presented to the grand jury, but three individuals encountered during the investigation were arrested on unrelated charges.

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