St. Louis man charged with DUI, murder after fatal crash

Published 12:49 pm Thursday, January 18, 2024

By Jay Compton

A Loyall, Kentucky, man was killed and a St, Louis man has been charged with DUI and murder after a two-vehicle crash on Highway 119 in Bell County Thursday evening.

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The accident was reported to Bell Dispatch at approximately 5:07 p.m. and happened in front of the Bell County Road Department’s garage in the Page community.

First responders found that a black Ford F250 and red Chrysler car were involved in a collision. The driver of the F250, 64-year-old Paul Michael Shirk of St. Louis, Missouri, was able to exit his vehicle with no major injuries.

The driver of the Chrysler, later identified by Don Horton of the Bell County Coroner’s office as Matthew Estes of Loyall, suffered serious injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene a short time later.

The Bell County Sheriff’s Department, Bell EMS, the Bell County Rescue Squad and Volunteer Fire Department all responded to the scene.

Highway 119 was shut down for several hours as a Kentucky State Police reconstruction unit came in to complete the investigation into the cause of the accident. The road was reopened at 9:30 p.m.

KSP troopers detained Shirk on scene and he was later determined to be under the influence. He was booked into the Bell County Detention Center at 10:00 pm charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol – 1st offense. Friday afternoon KSP Dec. Andy Soltess additionally charged Shirk with murder. Shirk is being held on a total cash bond of $500,000.