Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

December 28, 2012

Former major league pitcher’s son, daughter-in-law victims in accident

FLAT LICK — The son and daughter-in-law of former major league pitcher Don Robinson were among five killed in a two-car collision on Christmas Eve in Knox County in southeastern Kentucky.

All of those killed were from southeastern Kentucky, or had connections to the region.

They included a Whitley County man, as well as a husband and wife from Harlan County, along with their daughter and son-in law from the Tampa Bay area of Florida.

The couple had flown to Lexington earlier in the day to be part of what would have been a Christmas Day celebration with her parents and his in-laws back in Kentucky.

The parents, Gary Caldwell, 61, and his wife, Patricia Caldwell, 58, were both of the Putney community in Harlan County. Also killed was their daughter, Julia Robinson, 29, and her husband, Brent Robinson, both of Bradenton, Fla. All four were in a 2010 Toyota Camry driven by Gary Caldwell. Brent Robinson was the son of former major league pitcher Don Robinson, who is from Kenova.

David Vanderpool, 31, of Williamsburg, the driver of the other car, a 2004 Ford Taurus, was also killed.

The accident happened late Monday afternoon on U.S. 25E in Flat Lick, southeast of Barbourville near the Bell County border, with Kentucky State Police Post 10 in Harlan getting the call at 5:20 p.m. According to State Police troopers who arrived at the scene, preliminary investigations showed Vanderpool’s car driving northbound on 25E, with the Caldwell car traveling southbound, when Vanderpool’s car crossed the median of the divided four-lane highway and hit the Caldwell car head-on.

None of the five involved survived the collision, which authorities said was “a horrible sight.” State Police said neither Vanderpool, nor both Robinson family members who were passengers in the Caldwell car, were wearing seat belts.

“It was tragic. The State Police said it was one of the worst wrecks they’d ever seen,” said Knox County Coroner Mike Blevins.

Blevins added the Knox County Sheriff’s Office had been alerted about a report of a driver being impaired on the road at the time of the accident.

“That’s what I understand. He was coming out of Pineville on 25E and a driver who was behind him alerted 911 dispatch.”

Knox County Sheriff’s Deputy Roy Gambrel was one of the first to respond to the collision scene.

“I got the call about three minutes before the wreck happened. When the dispatcher told me where the wreck was, I just had a feeling it was him. It was the worst-case scenario. In almost 17 years of police work, it was the worst one I’ve ever seen. It don’t get any worse than that,” said Gambrel.

Blevins added toxicology tests would be performed on both drivers of the two cars, which he said was a standard procedure in fatal accidents.

Roger Fannin, an insurance agent in Harlan, knew the Caldwells. He noted the tragedy cut deep into the fabric of what would have been a festive time of year.

“It hurts. I attended church with the couple. It’s absolutely fair to say this community is in shock. It’s very upsetting how this accident took away a family on Christmas Eve,” Fannin said.

Both Caldwells were employed as educators, with Gary Caldwell as finance director for Letcher County Schools, and Patricia Caldwell as assistant principal at Harlan County’s James. A. Cawood Elementary School.

“The Caldwells were a blessing to our church. Both Gary and Patricia served in our church in many ways, and their kids grew up in our church. The people here have been broken and in some ways, devastated,” said the Caldwells’ pastor, the Rev. Brandon Pugh of Harlan Baptist Church.

Don Robinson was numb after learning of the accident.

“I keep thinking in my mind that 10 years from now, he’s not going to be here,” Robinson told a Tampa television station. “He’s not going to be here so I can talk to him.”

Don also told the station his son and Julia were inseparable, about how she would accompany Brent on business trips and how the two would go to games together, especially the Rays and the Giants.

“He loved his wife; he loved her more than anything,” Don said.

Don Robinson pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates, San Francisco Giants, California Angels and Philadelphia Phillies during his 15-year major league career.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • ambulance.jpg Ambulance tipped over in accident

    A morning accident left an ambulance resting on its side Tuesday morning in front of the Paramount Arts Center on Winchester Avenue.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jesse Stuart Foundation celebrates 35 years

    The annual Jesse Stuart Foundation Open House from noon to 6 p.m. on Aug. 8 will be a huge celebration.
     

    July 28, 2014

  • 0729hagerman.jpg Hagerman talks law with Rotary

    At Monday’s lunchtime meeting of the Ashland Rotary Club, Boyd County Circuit Court Judge C. David Hagerman summed up current local legal trends — and how cases, courts and criminals have changed during his 20-plus year tenure.
     

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • POLICE BEAT: Houseguest steals valuables, nabbed at pawn shop

    Fish and houseguests both stink after three days — and much less time when a visitor pockets valuables without permission.
     

    July 28, 2014

  • 0728bank5.jpg Iconic Gate City bank torn down after partial collapse

    This weekend, Catlettsburg’s downtown silhouette lost one of its longest-lived landmarks.
    Demolition workers began to tear down one of the Gate City’s oldest downtown buildings following the former Catlettsburg National Bank’s partial collapse.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • Study shows room for parking improvement

    It has been suggested that the parking layout along Winchester Avenue should change, bringing the city’s main thoroughfare down to two lanes.

    July 28, 2014

  • Anti-smoking tour kicks off in Ashland

    A scan in 2009 that was supposed to show doctors what was causing Deborah Cline’s eye problems by chance revealed the cancer in her lung.
    Two years later, Roger Cline watched his wife die of lung cancer. Deborah Cline was 59 and had never smoked.

    July 28, 2014

  • 0728bank5.jpg Gate City landmark demolished

    The historic Catlettsburg National Bank Building was being taken down after the front dormer window collapsed on Sunday.

    July 28, 2014 4 Photos

  • Local counties see drop in unemployment

    Boyd County was one of 117 counties that saw a decrease in its unemployment rate between June 2013 and June 2014.
     

    July 27, 2014

  • 0726bigboy.JPG Big Boy to open Aug. 11

    The long-awaited Frisch’s Big Boy restaurant will open Aug. 11, and when it does it will be business as usual from day one: the eatery will open its doors to the early breakfast crowd at 6:30.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP basketball
SEC Zone