FLAT LICK — Officials say the man who caused a fatal Christmas Eve crash in eastern Kentucky shouldn’t have been driving.
Police say David F. Vanderpool’s car went across the U.S. 25 East median near Flat Lick and hit another vehicle that was carrying a family on their way to Harlan County to celebrate Christmas.
Aside from Vanderpool, those killed in the crash included 61-year-old Gary Caldwell; his wife, 58-year-old Patricia Caldwell; their daughter 29-year-old Julia Caldwell Robinson; and her husband, 30-year-old Brent Robinson. The younger couple had just flown in from Bradenton, Fla. Gary Caldwell was the director of finance for Letcher County Schools. His wife, Patricia, was assistant principal at James A. Cawood Elementary School in Harlan County.
Funeral services for the Caldwells and Robinsons were held in Harlan on Friday. Many attending the service said the scene of four coffins being carried from the church for one family is something that never want to see again.
The Caldwells were buried in Harlan on Friday afternoon. The Robinsons will be buried next week in Bradenton, Fla. Shannon Funeral Home is handling the burial arrangements in Florida, according to John Jones of Anderson Laws & Jones Funeral Home in Harlan. He said those working in the funeral industry in Harlan could not recall in recent years when services were held for four family members at one time.
Kentucky Transportation Cabinet spokeswoman Lisa Tolliver told the Lexington Herald-Leader that Vanderpool’s license was suspended.
The newspaper and WKYT-TV report that Vanderpool was arrested on Dec. 5 for driving on a suspended license and officials added a longer suspension.
Court records show that before the arrest, his license had been suspended when he didn’t answer a court summons from Whitley County, where he lived. Whitley County Commonwealth’s Attorney Alan Trimble said that summons was for a previous citation for no operator’s license and no insurance.
In addition to the traffic charges, Vanderpool was on parole after being released in August from prison, where he served less than a year for receiving stolen property in Whitley County.
“Time and time again, and he continued to break the law, and no one held him accountable for that,” said Shannon Doan, a neighbor of the Caldwells.
Vanderpool’s mother, Jackie Cureton, told WKYT-TV that she pushed for him to stay in a halfway house, but he was released.
“If he had stayed in, he’d have been alive today,” she said. “I just want to know what happened, and I am so sorry for the others lost, very much sorry for the others lost.
Police had been searching for Vanderpool’s car before the crash after getting reports of an impaired driver. Toxicology tests for both drivers are pending.