Western student killed on Natcher Parkway

Mai Hoang

A Western student traveling on the William Natcher Parkway to his morning classes was killed yesterday morning after a truck lost control and hit the student’s car head on.

Owensboro senior Kenneth Rowan Jr., 25, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Kentucky State Police.

Rowan, who commuted to Western from Owensboro on Mondays and Wednesdays, was driving his 1994 Honda Accord in the southbound lane heading toward Bowling Green when the crash occurred.

About 8:10 a.m. yesterday, a 1991 Ford F-150 traveling northbound nine miles outside of Bowling Green skidded across the median and hit Rowan’s car.

Rowan’s car rotated clockwise and a tractor trailer traveling behind him struck the car’s passenger side.

A passenger in Rowan’s car, Philpot senior Holli Russelburg, 23, was injured in the crash and admitted to The Medical Center. Russelburg was in serious but stable condition last night, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

The driver of the F-150, Richard Phelps, and his passenger, Leslie Phelps, both of Morgantown, were treated and released from The Medical Center. The driver of the tractor trailer was not injured, police said.

Rowan, who was seeking a degree in elementary education, was finishing his first semester as a student on Western’s main campus, said his mother, Carla Rowan. He was also taking classes at Western’s Owensboro campus.

Rowan became interested in teaching after he worked for an after-school program at Foust Elementary School in Owensboro, Carla Rowan said last night.

“He liked working with children,” she said.

Rowan also worked at the Boys and Girls Club in Bowling Green and enjoyed sports. He loved to watch and play basketball. His favorite teams were Duke and the University of Louisville, she said.

He enjoyed spending time with his four-year-old daughter, Mya, and his 11-month-old twins, Kenneth and Kennedy.

“He took his daughter everywhere he went,” Carla Rowan said. “Everywhere he could.”

On Oct. 12, he became engaged to his girlfriend of seven years, Brandy Little.

“He was a gentle giant,” Carla Rowan said. “He was a good person.”

Rowan will be transported to the Young Funeral Home in Owensboro. Funeral arrangements are pending.

The collision closed the parkway’s southbound lanes for several hours, delaying traffic already slowed by heavy snowfall. Roads were reopened around rush hour.

State Trooper Terry Alexander said he doesn’t expect roads to improve this morning and recommends that people stay home.

“They’re not getting better and it’s going to get worse,” he said. “In the morning we’re still going to have ice-covered roads.”

Reach Mai Hoang at [email protected]