MAYFIELD, KY (NEWS FIRST) – Posted by Graves County Sheriff’s Department

Fatal Collision – On March 2, 2024 at approximately 7:45 PM, 911 dispatch at the Kentucky State Police Post 1 received 911 calls of a vehicle traveling northbound in the southbound lanes of Interstate 69 between US 45 and KY 131. Deputies responded to the area. A few moments later, dispatch began receiving 911 calls of a two vehicle, head on collision between the 26 and 27 mile marker of the Interstate. An investigation into the collision determined that Shirley Ballard, 68 of Mayfield, mistakenly ramped on to the southbound lanes of Interstate 69 from US 45, traveling northbound in the southbound lanes. Ballard was operating a Chevrolet Trax. In the area of Interstate 69 between the Hopewell Road overpass and KY 131, Ballard’s vehicle collided with a Toyota Corolla that was traveling southbound and was operated by Colten Blankenship, 21 of Vienna, IL. Blankenship was pronounced deceased at the scene by the Graves County Coroner’s Office. His two passengers, Alexander McLean, 18 of Eddyville, KY, and Daniel Guasp, 22 of Nortonville, KY, were transported from the scene by EMS and Lifeflight. McLean was pronounced deceased at Jackson Purchase Medical Center. Guasp was transported to Vanderbilt Medical Center where he was pronounced deceased at their facility. Ballard was transported from the scene by EMS and then to a Memphis area hospital by Air Evac. Ballard is currently listed in critical condition.

Deputy Zac Smith is continuing the investigation into this collision. He was assisted by Sheriff Jon Hayden, Deputy Greg Sloan, Deputy Chad Hall, the Kentucky State Police, the Mayfield Fire Department, Mayfield/Graves County EMS, Mayfield Graves County Fire and Rescue Squad, the Graves County Coroner’s Office, Graves County Emergency Management and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet – Department of Highways. Air Evac and Lifeflight based out of Henry County, TN transported the patients to out of state medical centers. We would also like to thank Marshall County EMS and KSP Post 1 Dispatch. Marshall County provided mutual aid by sending an ambulance and a crew to the scene to assist. KSP Dispatchers worked diligently in a very stressful situation to get the help that was needed to the scene.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of all of those involved in this tragedy.