Crash cause still under investigation

Published 5:52 pm Monday, January 3, 2011

State troopers continue to investigate the fatal accident that claimed the life of an Abbeville woman in Troy on New Year’s Eve.

“It’s still very early in the investigation,” said Trooper Kevin Cook. “Once we gather all the information, we will present it the Pike County District Attorney, and he will make a decision” on whether to pursue any criminal charges.

Francene N. Phillips, 32, of Abbeville, died when the vehicle in which she was a passenger crossed the centerline of U.S. 231 while traveling north and struck two other vehicles. The accident occurred around 6:55 p.m. in the area of U.S. 231 near what was Pike Lanes bowling alley.

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Cook said Phillips’ husband, 33-year-old Christopher Barrow of Troy, was driving the 2007 Chevrolet Impala at the time of the accident. Why the vehicle crossed of the centerline remains under investigation.

“We’re still trying to piece that together,” Cook said.

Once the vehicle crossed into the southbound lane, it first struck a 2003 Chevrolet Avalanche driven by Christian V. Valverde, 18, of Troy, and then a 2000 Chevrolet C1500 driven by Norman B. Baxley, 38, of Dothan. Cook said Barrow, Valverde and Baxley were taken to Troy Regional Medical Center, where they were treated for non-life threatening injuries.

However, Cook said both Phillips and Barrow did not appear to be wearing seatbelts at the time of the accident.

Cook did not provide a timeline for completion of the investigation.