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Authorities still trying to find why car on wrong side



State police have not been able to determine why a Virginia man was traveling on the wrong side of the road when his vehicle crashed headon into a car owned by a Letcher County couple.

Kentucky State Police Trooper Derek Hall said he doesn’t have any indication as to why Michael Gullett Jr., 36, was traveling in the wrong direction around 8:50 p.m. on Aug. 30 on US 23 near the Virginia/ Kentucky state line. State police say Gullett was traveling south in a northbound lane in a 1994 blue Subaru WRX and struck Caudill’s 2000 red Chevrolet Cavalier, which was traveling north.

“There hasn’t been anything that has led us to what caused him to be in that lane,” said Hall. “Right now we don’t know what caused him to be in that particular lane at that particular time.”

Gullett and John Tate Caudill, 30, of Low Gap Branch, both died at the scene of the collision. Caudill and his wife, Mary, were on their way home from shopping in Norton, Va. The couple recently celebrated their second wedding anniversary.

Gullett’s three-year-old daughter, Abigail, who was a passenger in his vehicle, was airlifted from the scene to a medical center in Johnson City. Abigail received cuts and bruises in the wreck. Gullett’s five-year-old son, Eryx, was uninjured.

Mary Caudill was airlifted to Bristol Regional Medical Center. Mrs. Caudill received a broken toe and a laceration to her head, which required 30 stitches.

Jenkins Patrolman Jim Stephens said he was at the Jenkins Volunteer Fire Department Aug. 30 when a man walked into the fire department and reported that a vehicle was traveling 100 miles per hour the wrong way on US 23. Stephens said he had gotten in his cruiser to check out the complaint when he received a 9-1-1 page.

Hall, who remains in charge of the investigation, said toxicology results are pending.

John Tate Caudill was the bass player for the gospel group, The Master’s Harmony. Caudill was also serving on the Letcher County Grand Jury. An estimated 1,000 people attended a visitation service for Caudill at Millstone Missionary Baptist Church on Sept. 2.


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