February 17, 2014

Laurel native dies in I-75 crash

Struck by an oncoming vehicle while trying to aid crash victim

By Nita Johnson
Staff Writer

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Jeffrey Ray Campbell Jr., 30, of Louisville was attempting to aid victims of a car crash on Interstate 75, just north of Richmond, Sunday when he  was struck and killed by an oncoming vehicle.

Campbell and his wife, Jamie, were traveling home to Louisville on I-75 when they came upon the scene of a multi-car accident. Both Campbells were graduates of South Laurel High School and have family in Laurel County.

Jamie Campbell was driving the family’s SUV.  In an interview with the Lexington Herald-Leader, she described the scene as “dangerous” and said she would not have pulled over, but her husband — who routinely stopped to help stranded motorists — told her to.

A 1999 white Ford Explorer, driven by 56-year-old Bryan Mangan of South Bend, Ind., had reportedly went out of control, struck a guardrail and overturned, partially blocking the left lane of the Interstate. According to information from the Richmond Register, he was allegedly intoxicated at the time of the accident.

Three other vehicles were involved in the crash. One of the vehicles in the crash was that of 22-year-old Meredith L. Buscher of Richmond. Kentucky State Police have not determined whether Mangan’s vehicle hit the other vehicles before overturning or if the other vehicles hit Mangan’s vehicle.  The driver in the third vehicle was not identified.

Like Campbell, Buscher, too, got out of her vehicle to help the other driver.

In an interview with the Richmond Register, a public affairs officer for the Richmond Post of Kentucky State Police said the crash occurred in a location described as “difficult for oncoming traffic to spot,” especially in the dark. That is believed to be the case when 41-year-old Clifford H. Steinhaur of Ft. Thomas, Ky., who was traveling in the left lane, struck Campbell and Buscher as they stood near the accident scene between Buscher’s vehicle and Mangan’s vehicle. Steinhaur reportedly swerved to avoid crashing into the overturned vehicle, lost control and hit the two pedestrians.

Campbell was pronounced dead at the scene by the Madison County Coroner’s Office and Buscher was taken to the University of Kentucky Medical Center, where she later died. Steinhaur was also transported to the Lexington hospital.

Bryan Mangan, the driver of the vehicle that began the chain of events, is now held in the Madison County Detention Center on nine counts of first-degree wanton endangerment, one count of driving without a license/negligence in an accident, driving on a suspended or revoked operator’s license and aggravated driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The tragic deaths of Campbell and Buscher stunned families and friends. Campbell was a husband and father of two daughters. He was a store manager for Assured Auto Care. Funeral arrangements were handled by Owen Funeral Home in Jeffersontown on Thursday, with Hart Funeral Home in Corbin handling local arrangements that included burial at the Locust Grove Cemetery in Keavy.

Buscher was a native of Richmond, graduating from Madison Central High School in 2009 and from the University of Kentucky just last year. She reportedly was living in Cincinnati but was in Richmond on Sunday for a friend’s birthday celebration.