Woman dies, 2 recovering after license plate smashes car in Elizabethtown Denny’s parking lot | News

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — A 72-year-old woman has died after a car with three people inside was crushed by a falling sign in the parking lot of a Denny’s in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, on Thursday afternoon.

Elizabethtown Police Station Chris Denham told WDRB News that it happened around 1:30 pm at Denny’s on Mulberry Street, which is just east of Interstate 65.

All three adults, a man and two women, were in the car. The three had to be removed by the Fire Department.

Denham said one of the women was transported by EMS to the University of Louisville Hospital in Louisville with serious injuries. He confirmed to WDRB News around 7:40 pm Thursday that the 72-year-old woman had passed away.

The coroner says the woman was Lillian Curtis. The victim’s granddaughter, Amy Nichols, confirmed to WDRB News that the woman was her grandmother. She said her grandmother was in the back seat of the vehicle and that doctors described her head injury as “catastrophic”.



Lillian Curtis (left) was killed and Lloyd Curtis (right) was injured after their vehicle was crushed by a falling sign in the parking lot of a Denny’s in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, on Thursday, January 19, 2023. (Photo provided by Amy Nichols, the Curtis’ granddaughter)


Nichols said his grandfather, Lloyd Curtis, who was in the front passenger seat, was discharged from Jewish Hospital three days ago after open heart surgery. She said he was taken back to hospital with “fluid in his lungs” among “other injuries” and was waiting to be transferred back to Jewish Hospital. Nichols said her mother, Mary Graham, was driving the vehicle with her parents inside and “suffered a chest injury but is fine” and was released from the hospital.

According to Nichols, the family was driving home to Columbia, Kentucky, and was driving in the Denny’s parking lot when the sign fell off.

A GoFundMe page was set up by the family to help cover the costs of a memorial service for Lillian Curtis.

Denham said he believed strong gusts of wind had played a part in knocking the sign off its base, causing it to fall onto the vehicle below.

WDRB News chief meteorologist Marc Weinberg said wind gusts of 49 mph were reported Thursday in Elizabethtown.

Footage from WDRB News viewers showed the license plate on top of the vehicle with first responders nearby. Crews who removed the plate from the site said it weighed around 2,600 pounds, which is the weight of a small car.

After the sign fell, a smaller sign on the same pole was reinforced by a local sign company.

Per the City of Elizabethtown Code, signs like the one that fell must be constructed and maintained to state standards. WDRB News requested city records on permits for signage at this location, as well as other documents showing maintenance history. City authorities have yet to respond to our request.

A video of Denny’s sign falling can be seen below:

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

Copyright 2023 WDRB Media. All rights reserved.

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