Jeffersontown woman mourns family lost in Whitley Co. crash


by Johnny Archer

Posted on July 8, 2012 at 6:54 PM

Updated Monday, Jul 9 at 4:21 AM

WHITLEY CO., Ky. (WHAS11) --  The harsh reality slowly sets in for 17-year-old Ashley Catlett that her dad, step mom and sister were all killed in a car crash Friday afternoon.

“It still seems so unreal,” Ashley says. “I always thought I would grow older with them and take care of them when they were old.”

Her dad, 38-year-old Brian Catlett, was returning home to Jeffersontown with his wife Ambeanna, his 15-year-old daughter, Savanna, and her 14-year-old friend. They were traveling on I-75 in Whitley County, Kentucky coming back from a vacation in Gatlinburg.

A pickup truck side-swiped their SUV, causing both vehicles to flip. Police believe the pickup truck was trying to change lanes and Catlett's SUV was in the truck's blind spot.

"That appears to be what caused this accident,” says an emergency official at the scene of the accident. “The vehicles were just too close traveling together."

Savanna and Ambeanna died at the scene. Brian was pronounced dead at the hospital.  Savanna's friend broke several bones, but is expected to fully recover. The two people in the pickup truck were not seriously hurt.

“When I found out all I did was cry,” says Ashley. “I cried for three or four hours.”

Ashley says she was supposed to be on that trip too. But her dad insisted she stay behind because Ashley is five months pregnant. A baby who Ashley’s sister, Savanna, was looking forward to meeting.

“She was going to be an aunt and she was pretty excited about that,” says Ashley.

Excitement has turned to sorrow. Friends and family come together for Ashley in one of the most difficult times in her life.

“It’s a tragedy,” says Nick Deckard, a long time family friend. “I’m just trying to be here for Ashley and be supportive.”

“I’ve got a lot of support,” says Ashley. “So I know getting through it won’t be a problem. But trying to get to that point will be hard.”