Chuck Tackett: From Tragedy to Triumph

When Chuck Tackett came upon a crash in Scott County one gray afternoon in October of 2014, it was a terrible sight. When he talks about it, he shuts his eyes and turns his head down.

“I’ve seen wrecks, but nothing like this,” he says. “It was the worst I’d ever seen.”

Chuck had been doing farm work and was driving on Duvall Station Road, headed right to the intersection with Kentucky Highway 227, where the crash happened. There were other cars stopped behind the wreck. Chuck got out of his truck and ran to see if there was anything he could do to help.

“The two drivers were killed instantly. There were some that were still alive. It was a mess.”

A father, his pregnant wife and two young children were in an SUV that slammed head-on with a car carrying a man and his daughter.

“I remember seeing a little dog that had been in one of the vehicles. It was okay, but it was shaking so hard.”

Chuck saw one of the crash victims lying in a ditch next to the road. He was a little boy, and he had no pulse.

“He was just a little guy. I remember he had a long sleeve shirt and sweatpants. He had one sock on and no shoes. He had a little buzz haircut.” Chuck pauses for a moment. “Cute as he could be.”

His name was Skylar Spencer, and he was three years old.

Chuck could hear sirens in the distance, and as the emergency crews began to arrive on the scene, a storm hit. Rain and hail peppered the ground, and little Skylar Spencer’s body was on the grass in the ditch. There was nothing Chuck could do.

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Photo courtesy WLEX

Skylar’s father, Trevor Spencer, was also dead, along with the driver of the other car, Corey Wilcoxen. Corey’s 12-year-old daughter was alive, and first responders loaded her into an ambulance. She would survive, as would little Skylar’s sister and pregnant mother. That night, she went into labor and delivered a healthy baby.

Chuck Tackett donated money to pay for Skylar’s funeral. He went to the funeral, too, and it was a heartbreaking scene.

The funeral home in Scott County was packed. The line was huge to see the father and son, and Chuck waited a long time to pay his respects. When he got near the casket, his heart broke again.

“They had the little boy and his daddy in the same casket. They were together.”

Skylar’s family thanked Chuck for trying to help at the scene of the crash. They thanked him for his assistance with the funeral expenses.

Family members knew he was running for State Representative, and asked him for something that grabbed Chuck’s heart. They asked if he could do anything to get the road fixed. They had a petition to get changes made, and Chuck knew they were right — something had to be done. He needed to win the election first, and then he might be able to get the road fixed.

“There are a lot of crashes on that stretch of road,” he says. “The curve is narrow and there’s no room for error. There’s a plank fence there. You can go by there and that plank fence is being repaired in sections all the time.” He was determined to do everything he could to get the road fixed after he became a state representative.

But Chuck Tackett lost the election in 2014.

A year later, there was another deadly crash in the same spot. This time, the victim was a 23-year-old man, Paul Burton. Family members worked on petitions and tried their best to get changes made to the roadway.

In 2016, Chuck ran again in a special election for a seat of the Kentucky House of Representatives.  This time — he won.

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On March 10, his first day on the job, he met with Rep. Leslie Combs, the chair of the budget review committee for transportation. Chuck’s goal: get changes made to Highway 227.

Chuck met other folks, too. He didn’t let up. He didn’t stop making noise about the problem. He was brand new to his role in the House of Representatives, but he was determined to fight for what he knew had to be done.

Now, federal funding has been secured to make safety changes to Highway 227 near the intersection of Duvall Station Road. The project is expected to be completed by 2019, and Chuck Tackett wants to be around to make sure that project gets finished. He’s running again — and he has even more projects that he knows need to be tackled.

He holds up pictures of a stretch of Highway 460 heading into downtown Georgetown. Weeds, bushes and trees are right next to the roadway, and there’s no place for pedestrians to walk.

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“Many people who live nearby often don’t have cars. They have to walk to work and to go to the grocery store.

“Georgetown is now the seventh largest city in Kentucky. Scott County is the fastest growing county in the state of Kentucky. It’s outgrowing its current infrastructure. With this growth, we’ve got to step up and do what’s right.”

Chuck can’t get the picture of the crash out of his mind. He can’t stop thinking about the little boy in the ditch with rain pouring down on him. He remembers the long line at the funeral, where the three-year-old little boy was in the same casket with his father.

“It’s not about me one bit,” he says. “It’s not about politics. It’s about doing what’s right.”

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