Local News

March 8, 2010

Woman dies in crash

Hazel Green paraeducator killed after SUV rolls on Ky. 490

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — A mother to three young girls and wife to a fourth-district magistrate candidate died Thursday morning after rolling her SUV on Ky. 490.

Jennifer McQueen, 41, of Ky. 490, leaves behind husband Jeffrey and her daughters. The students and teachers at Hazel Green Elementary School also mourn her death — she was a paraeducator at the school.

“Jennifer McQueen was loved by each and every student and member of staff here at Hazel Green,” teacher Sarah Smith said. “This is my first year teaching and without her I already feel lost. She was instrumental in me finding my way. Ms. McQueen was also Mr. Cloud’s assistant during his first year. He, too, stated that without her he could not have made it.”

Around 7:30 a.m., McQueen was driving south toward town on Ky. 490 when she rounded a curve and lost control of her Toyota RAV4. Laurel County Sheriff’s Deputy Jerry Jones, who reconstructed the accident, said she struck the ditch and overturned in a field, with the SUV landing on its wheels. McQueen, who was not wearing a seat belt, was ejected onto the road, after which witnesses reportedly started performing CPR on her. She died shortly afterward. Laurel County Coroner Doug Bowling said blunt force trauma was the cause of death.

McQueen’s three daughters were taken to Saint Joseph-London for treatment. They were not seriously injured.

“Some of the officers said the girls were buckled, she wasn’t,” Jones said.

The location of the accident has caused problems in the past. In January, Nathanial Lucas also lost his life while rounding the same curve in the road. Black ice might have been a factor in that crash, but Jones said it wasn’t in this case.

Principal Danny Hacker said McQueen worked at Hazel Green about three years. One of her daughters, a third-grader, also attended Hazel Green. Her other two children attended North Laurel middle and high schools.

Smith said McQueen was an extremely dedicated mother.

“They meant the world to her,” she said. “She had an awesome relationship with them, one that any mother and daughter would be envious of. I do not know what else to say. We are crushed.”

Hacker said extra counselors were on hand at the school Thursday to help students and teachers deal with the loss.

Jones was assisted at the scene by Deputies Tim Smallwood and E.R. Rudder, East Bernstadt Fire Department, Crossroads Fire Department and Ambulance Inc. of Laurel County.

Staff writers Tara Kaprowy and Nita Johnson can be reached by e-mail at and

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Now that school is out, what are your family’s summer vacation plans?

A. No major plans. We will probably hang out around Laurel County.
B. Going to the beach!
C. Kentucky has a lot of wonderful state parks, and we plan to visit a few and enjoy quality family time.
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