Spinal Injury Could Cause Paralysis
(LOUISVILLE, June 29th, 2001, 3:30 p.m.) — A Louisville police officer was seriously injured this morning in a single car wreck in the city’s south end.
Officer Kelly Fentress reportedly was traveling northbound on Southern Parkway and possibly swerved to avoid another vehicle when his car left the road and smashed into a tree at Southern Parkway near Kingston Drive. The tree was knocked completely out of the ground by the impact, and crews had to cut Fentress from the wreckage.
No other vehicles were involved in the crash, but police are investigating whether another driver turned in front of the driver, causing him to serve.
Fentress was rushed to University Hospital with a police cars escorting the ambulance and others blocking traffic. He was carried in on a stretcher and appeared to be wearing a neck brace. Fentress was reportedly conscious and alert as he was being evaluated in the Emergency Room, but faces serious injuries.
WAVE 3 News has learned that Fentress — whose birthday is today — was complaining of not being able to feel his arms or legs, and that his injuries do include at least one to his spinal cord.
“We believe that he has suffered a Cervical cord injury,” said Louisville Police Spokeswoman Helene Kramer. “It’s either a contusion or possibly a bad disc. He’s got the ability to wiggle his toes and move his hands but he doesn’t have a whole lot of feeling right now, so surgery is a strong possibility.”
Louisville Police Chief Greg Smith and Mayor Dave Armstrong have visited with Fentress, and Armstrong described him as “very alert … and secure. With any kind of injury like that, they secure you down pretty well, so he’s not in the most comfortable of settings.
Doctors are holding off on surgery until swelling in Fentress’ spinal cord goes down. That’s when they will be able to tell if he will be paralyzed or if the swelling caused the numbness.
Fentress, 37, has been on the force for 13 years, and serves in the third district. He has two children and is engaged to be married.
He remains in serious condition at University Hospital. Stay tuned to WAVE 3 News at 5:00 for the latest on his condition.
WAVE 3 News
Online Reporter: Carrie Weil
Online Producer: Michael Dever