Troy man killed in accident

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 23, 2002

Messenger intern

A Troy man was killed Tuesday in a head-on collision on State Road 20 about a half-mile away from Choctaw Beach.

Chris Ledford, 26, of Swindall Road, and his family were driving to the beach to meet his brother who had just gotten married and was still on his honeymoon. They planned to spend the day with the newlywed couple.

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However, while in route, his 2000 model Nissian collided with a vehicle driven by

16-year-old Justin Paul Carter of Defuniak Springs. According to police reports, Carter was traveling east on State Road 20 and was attempting to pass other vehicles when he pulled into the left lane. Ledford was traveling west in that lane; Carter hit the brakes, sending the car spinning out of control and into the other vehicle.

Ledford was pronounced dead on the scene. A passenger in the other vehicle, 17-year-old Jacob Richard Sermine also died at the scene.

Ledford’s wife, 24-year-old Christy S. Ledford, and child, Bailey R. Ledford, 3, were in the car at the time of the accident and were transported to Florida hospitals. As of press time, Christy was listed in serious condition at Twin Cities Hospital, but Bailey had been released from Sacred Heart Hospital.

Both occupants in Ledford’s vehicle were wearing seatbelts and a child restraint was used for the 3-year-old child. According to police reports, neither Carter nor his passenger were wearing seatbelts.

Family members have described Ledford as "very loving and always happy."

"He was just a good boy as far as I’m concerned. You never saw him without a smile on his face; he was just always happy, said his aunt, Diane Austin.

Ledford made a habit of calling his mom whenever he went some where to say he loved her, Austin said. Ledford’s manager at Colonial Bread Company, Danny Boutwell, described Ledford as a "fantastic worker."

Ledford had been working as a sales representative for the Sara Lee Bakery Group for about five years.

"His son was the apple of his eye. Of course you love your child, but he just worshiped him," Boutwell said. "He was just a super guy. He just loved life, and you couldn’t be around him for one minute without him making you laugh."