Man charged in connection with Memorial Day wreck
MARSHALL COUNTY, KY- A stretch of Highway 95 in Calvert City is littered with white markings. They are the tell tale signs of investigators trying desperately to make sense of a horrifying accident.
The driver of a Jeep crossed the center line and plowed into a truck carrying 4 teens on the evening of Memorial Day.
Landon Lovett and Shane McKenty were critically injured in the crash. Lovett remains in a coma at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville. The road to recovery for McKenty is a long one. He returned home from Vanderbilt earlier this summer.
The crash was more than five months ago, and that is how long Assistant Marshall County Attorney Jason Darnall has been waiting for answers. He ordered a toxicology report on the driver, Cory Burkeen, within hours of the crash.
"We had a very difficult time obtaining blood samples in this case," he said Thursday.
Deputies needed a court order to get access to two small vials of Burkeen's blood from his Nashville hospital. The vials, as it turns out, were too small for the state lab.
But Darnall persisted, eventually finding a private lab in Pennsylvania, "Once we knew we had it (the blood) we knew we could get it tested, somewhere, somehow."
Months later, toxicology reports showed he was under the influence of Valium and Klonopin, neither for which he had a prescription. A pathologist from the University of Kentucky analyzed the results, determining there was too much medication in Burkeen's system for him to be operating a car. He was arrested Wednesday. Burkeen, 24, is charged with wanton endangerment, assault and operating a motor vehicle under the influence.
Burkeen was already in jail, facing robbery and public intoxication charges.
He will be arraigned on Monday. He remains at the Marshall County Detention Center on a $25,000 cash bond.