‘Bright headlights’ a factor in fatal wreck

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, August 13, 2019

A wreck that killed three people and injured four others on July 29 was caused in part by the bright headlights of a log truck involved in the collision, according to the state crash report.

The three-vehicle crash took place about 10:35 p.m. Monday on County Road 2276, known as the Henderson-Glenwood Road, about 1.5 miles from Henderson. The victims include Michael Sanders, 17, of Goshen; Denny “Trey” Strickland, 18, of Luverne; and West Wheeler, 70, of Josie. John Paul Boswell, 17, of Goshen and Terry Reed were both injured in the wreck.

Strickland and Boswell were both passengers in a 2008 Nissan Sentra driven by Sanders. Reed was a passenger in the 2005 Freightliner (log truck) driven by Wheeler.

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The report, released by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency over the weekend, explained how the first of two fatal collisions occurred.

“(The log truck) had just pulled out eastbound onto County Road 2276 from a dirt logging road, but its left rear trailer axles were still slightly over the centerline in the westbound lanes,” the report states. “(The log truck) had its bright headlights on. (The Nissan) was traveling west on County Road 2276. (The Nissan) was unable to see the trailer of (the log truck) that was still in the westbound lane due to (the log truck’s) bright headlights.”

The Nissan then struck the trailer at its fourth axle, ejecting one passenger and killing both Sanders and Strickland.

With the log truck still parked with the trailer crossing over the center line, Wheeler and Reed exited the truck, bright headlights still on according to the report.

Two minutes after the initial collision, a 2007 Mercedes-Benz driven by Wes Person Jr. approached the scene.

“Due to the bright headlights of (the log truck), the driver of (the Mercedes) was unable to see past (the log truck),” the report states.

The Mercedes struck the trailer near its fifth axle, then striking both Wheeler and Reed before colliding with the Nissan.

Wheeler was killed and Reed was seriously injured.

The crash report states that the Nissan was travelling at an unknown speed when it struck he trailer. The Mercedes was estimated to be travelling at 45 mph when it struck the truck. The speed limit at that section of road is 45 mph.