By Jonathan Hardison
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The family of a Walker County truck driver who was one of 11 victims of a fatal accident in Kentucky on Friday spoke to us Sunday. Kenneth Laymon was driving a tractor-trailer that investigators say crossed the median of I-65 in southern Kentucky early Friday morning.
Laymon's truck collided with a van carrying members of a Mennonite family on their way to a wedding. Laymon and 10 of the van's passengers were killed. Laymon's family is asking the public not to jump to conclusions about the accident.
Laymon's family says he was a responsible driver who taught others the rules of the road, and was also a dedicated family man who leaves behind a grieving widow. Laymon's sister says she is sending her prayers and thoughts to the Mennonite community in Kentucky as well as they all mourn a great loss.
Lori Cook wants the public to know about the man she calls a dedicated and faithful father of 4 and family man.
"He was a kind, loving, caring husband, father, a brother and a son," Cook said in an interview Sunday. "And he was a born again Christian who loved being in church."
Laymon's sister says speculation about what caused his truck to veer into oncoming traffic has hurt her family as they mourn.
"I just want everybody to know, he was an experienced truck driver," Cook said. "For like 26 years, it's not like a kid who just started driving. He used to train truck drivers. So all the nasty comments about fatigue, about drugs or alcohol or lack of sleep, that's not the way he was. He taught people locally how to drive semi-trucks. All the negative things that the public is saying, before you judge, know who you're talking about first. Because he's a person, too. He's a part of a large family, and it breaks our hearts. Not only do we mourn his death, but we also have to be defensive and we have to defend him when nobody can say what happened. Only the Lord knows."
Cook says there is one more message she wants to send, this one to the Mennonite community in Kentucky who are grieving the loss of almost an entire family, "There's been some communication that that community needed to know that Ken was saved and he was a Christian," Cook said. "The Mennonite community can rest easy in knowing that, he too was a Christian man, that he comes from a Christian family. Our hearts as well as our prayers go out to them."
Laymon was one of 6 children in his family, but his sister is now the only surviving sibling following this accident.
Cook says funeral arrangements for Laymon are still incomplete.
Anniston Memorial Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.
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