Survivor questions investigation into trooper's fatal crash

PARK CITY, KY (WAVE) - Six weeks after an accident that killed a 33-year-old woman, a Kentucky State Police trooper is back on the job. Trooper Jonathan Biven returned to work well before the investigation into what happened is closed. For Samuel Parker, the only survivor in the car that was hit, the accident "is like a snap shot in your head."

On September 15, Nurcan Ceylan's journey ended a rural stretch of U.S. 31W in Barren County. Ceylan was behind the wheel of her car with Parker in the passenger seat, when three Kentucky State Police cars zipped past them going the other way.

"There's no lights, there's no sirens," Parker recalled. "Just whoosh, whoosh, bang."

KSP's collision report says the left front of the third cruiser, driven by Biven, slammed into the driver side of Ceylan's car. Parker, who was not seriously hurt, said he quickly realized his girlfriend was in trouble.

"At first there was no response at all, and then it was a grunting sound," Parker said. "It wasn't until later that we found out that she had a ruptured diaphragm and ruptured spleen due to the impact."

Emergency workers airlifted Ceylan to Hardin Memorial Hospital in Elizabethtown, but she turned unresponsive during the flight.

"They put me on with a doctor up there," Parker said choking up. "I didn't realize the person I was talking to was the coroner."

Less than two hours after the crash, Nurcan Ceylan was dead from internal injuries suffered in the accident and KSP started its investigation into whether Biven was to blame.

"I can tell you with 100% passion and certainty that this will be a fair, impartial investigation done," said Lt. David Jude, a KSP spokesperson. "I have zero doubts about any of that."

But Parker does have doubts KSP's initial traffic collision report, a copy of which was obtained by the WAVE 3 Troubleshooter Department. The accident report said Biven drifted 27 inches into Ceylan's lane. But the crash impact about 25 yards past the curve in the road and what caused the drift remains unclear.

The collision report lists "inattention" and "lack of control" as reasons Biven crossed the double yellow lines, which marks a no passing zone. Jude said he can't discuss what caused Biven's inattention because the final report isn't finished. Jude acknowledged the investigation is being conducted by other troopers who know and serve with Biven. It's a situation we discovered is not uncommon.

I contacted a number of other state police agencies who told me they investigate their own too. But Jude does not think personal relationships will prevent KSP investigators from being impartial.

"I think it's a fair question," Jude said. "But once again I go back to tell you the Kentucky State Police are very proud of the investigations that they do."

Parker is also upset KSP's initial report lists the only crash witness as one of Biven's fellow troopers even though he claims at least one other civilian driver saw what happened.

"I could see a car directly across from us that had pulled off," after the accident Parker said.

Although Jude could not tell us why that person was not listed on the initial report, he said all witness accounts will be part of the final accident report which will be turned over to the Commonwealth's Attorney's office who will decide if Biven will face charges for his role in the fatal accident.

For now, Biven remains on the job as Public Affairs Officer for KSP Post 3 in Bowling Green. Jude said Biven returned to work just weeks after Ceylan was laid to rest. While troopers are placed on administrative leave after a fatal shooting, we discovered there is no such policy for troopers involved in fatal accidents. However, Jude said KSP is considering changing that policy as a result of this case.

"Such a waste," Parker said of the crash. Nurcan "should be here today."

Jude said Biven did take a few weeks off after the accident and was cleared by his post commander before returning to work. Jude also said this is not the first time KSP has investigated its own and has put troopers behind bars when warranted.

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