Goshen man killed in Wednesday accident

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 23, 2001

Staff Writer

A Pike County man was killed just a couple of hours after the Thanksgiving holiday travel period began.

At approximately 8:10 p.m. Wednesday night, Tomaras Lamon Deveridge, 22, of Goshen was killed in a head-on collision on U.S. 231 about 500 feet south of the Troy city limits, according to Alabama State Troopers’ Dothan post.

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Deveridge,1997 graduate of Goshen High School, was the son of Tommy and Joyce Deveridge. The highly-recognized student athlete was honored his senior year at the J.O. "Tip" Colley Scholarship Athletic Banquet. He was also named to The Messenger’s 1997 All-County High School Baseball Team on the first team as a utility player. The four-year letterman in baseball, also earned letters in basketball and cross country at GHS.

Troopers said Deveridge, who was driving a 2001 Mercury, was not wearing a seatbelt.

Robert L. Sturdivant, 40, of York, the driver of a 1999 Volvo Tractor was not injuried.

The accident is under investigation by Trooper T. Phillips.

A second fatality, which also occurred Wednesday night, was reported in Baldwin County.

The Alabama Department of Public Safety had predicted 16 people would die on Alabama roadways during the 102-hour Thanksgiving travel period, which begin at 6 p.m. Wednesday and ends at midnight Sunday.

Last year, 16 people died in traffic accidents throughout the state. Two of those deaths were in urban areas while 14 were on rural roads. According to the Alabama Department of Public Safety, at least six of the victims were not wearing safety belts and two deaths were alcohol related.

Local law enforcement officers were well aware of the number of people who would be on the roads.

"We have a heightened awareness more people will be on the roads," Troy Police Chief Anthony Everage before the holiday began.

Everage and Pike County Sheriff Russell Thomas have appropriate personnel on duty to monitor traffic for those driving under the influence to ensure everyone traveling has a safe and happy holiday.

State troopers anticipate traffic will be heavy during the Thanksgiving travel period. All available troopers are on duty to enforce the state’s speed limit, DUI, safety belt and all other traffic laws and to assist motorists. They are concentrating patrols on interstates and other heavily traveled roadways, with aerial speed enforcement included as part of speed limit enforcement activity.

Public Safety Director Col. James H. Alexander urged motorists "to drive with caution, avoid drinking and driving, and buckle up on each and every trip."

When he was the state’s Attorney General, now-Gov. Don Siegelman pushed for legislation, creating some of the toughest DUI laws in the nation. Those efforts lowered the legal blood alcohol level from .10 percent to .08 and doubled the fines. Since becoming governor, legislation imposing new penalties against those driving drunk with children in the vehicle has been imposed.

"I encourage Alabamians to drive responsibly and defensively during the Thanksgiving weekend," Gov. Don Siegelman said. "Alabama does not tolerate people who drink and drive. I caution those who are tempted to break Alabama’s DUI laws that the consequences are not worth it."

Officials have also declared a zero tolerance policy for those in violation of the state’s safety restraint laws.

Under Alabama’s child restraint law, safety seats are required for children through age 3. Children ages 4 and 5 must be secured in a child safety seat or by a regular safety belt.

State law also requires all front-seat occupants to be wearing seat belts.

In 2000, 78.8 percent of the people who died in crashes were not restrained.

"Click It or Ticket" campaigns in the state the past year have increased seat belt usage from 71 percent to 76 percent.

Over the Memorial Day and Labor Day holidays, officers across the state issued 15,082 citations for safety restraint violations.

The last fatality in Pike County was on Oct. 8 when Jason Blake Carnley was killed in a one-vehicle accident on Brown’s Mill Road, off U.S. 29 south of Troy.

Carnley, 14, was driving a pickup truck when the vehicle ran off the dirt road and overturned, partially ejecting the teen and killing him on impact. He was not wearing a seatbelt.