Resident drowns in Nelson County

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Funeral is Dec. 26 at 1 p.m.

By Calen McKinney



A Campbellsville man is dead after drowning in Nelson County on Sunday morning.

Five people, including Christopher Gray, 51, of Campbellsville, were riding in a Ford Explorer early Sunday morning when their vehicle went into Rolling Fork River near New Hope. Three of the five, including Gray, died. The other two were taken to a nearby hospital.

In addition to Gray, Nelson County Coroner Field Houghlin said the deceased were Don Paul Allen, 61, of Raywick, and the driver of the vehicle, Cindy Newberry, 36, of Gravel Switch.

The two other passengers, Newberry's husband, Jason Newberry, 40, and Debbie Puyera, 48, both of Campbellsville, were able to get out of the vehicle. But by the time rescuers got to the vehicle, it had been submerged in water and the three passengers were trapped inside.

Parrott & Ramsey Funeral Home is in charge of Gray's arrangements. Visitation is Thursday, Dec. 26, at 10 a.m. and the funeral will follow at 1 p.m.

The Kentucky Standard reports that, according to a Nelson County Sheriff's Office news release, Newberry was driving to New Hope and encountered high water in an attempt to cross a bridge.

The high water was caused by Saturday night's storm. See a separate story in this issue about damage in Taylor County.

The report states that Newberry was unable to get her vehicle out of the water and it swept the vehicle off the bridge and into the rising creek.

Newberry, Gray and Allen were unable to get out of the vehicle, though Puyera and Jason Newberry were able to get out through a rear window. They were transported to Flaget Memorial Hospital for evaluation and treatment of hypothermia.

Nelson County Coroner's Office officials transported the bodies of the three deceased. Nelson County Sheriff's Deputy Richard Jones is investigating.

Campbellsville Fire & Rescue Captain Chris Taylor said he received a request at 4:21 a.m. Sunday for his swift water rescue team to help find the three people who were trapped inside the vehicle. Taylor said his team responded with 10 personnel and three apparatus.

Taylor said Taylor and Green County swift water personnel headed to the scene. He said Nelson County doesn't have a swift water team, so their personnel were walking along the bank of the river searching for three missing people.

The swift water rescue teams deployed their boats, Taylor said, and began their search. The vehicle was found just before daybreak and officials marked it and then waited until daylight to attempt to pull it out.

Meanwhile, he said, personnel searched a three-mile radius of the river in an attempt to find out if any of the three were able to get out of the vehicle.

After the water receded a bit, Taylor said, rescuers hooked a cable to the vehicle and pulled it onto a bank. Gray, Newberry and Allen were still inside.

Taylor said Bardstown Fire Department and the Kentucky National Guard 41st Civil Support Team personnel also helped with the search.

Gray was an employee at TG Kentucky in Lebanon. He was the son of Ruth Jones Gray of Campbellsville and the late Joe Gray Jr.

Gray is survived by his daughter, Chelsea Gray of Campbellsville, and a son, Nicholas Gray and his wife, Shelby, of Lebanon. Two grandchildren also survive, Maylee Wilds and Zyron Young of Campbellsville.

Also surviving are Gray's brother, Steven Gray of Campbellsville; his sister, Diana Forbess and her husband, Dr. Billy Forbess, of Lexington; and his grandparents, E.E. and Maxine Jones of Campbellsville.

Bro. Dan Durham will officiate Gray's funeral. Burial will be in Brookside Mausoleum.

The family requests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of donations to funeral expenses. Donations can be made at the funeral home.

An obituary for Gray will be published in the Monday, Dec. 30, issue.