Driver missed stop sign
By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
A Century, Fla. woman was seriously injured Monday, February 4, when she apparently missed a stop sign and drove her pickup across fog-shrouded U.S. 31, about four miles east of downtown Atmore, then went airborne, jumped a ravine and landed on a set of train tracks.
The driver, Kimberly Kaye Clarke (reportedly “in her 50s”) was taken by ambulance to an area hospital. Traffic investigators had not determined by midday whether or not the thick fog that enveloped the area before daylight played a part in the wreck, which happened around 6 a.m.
Reports indicate that Clarke was headed north on Florida Road (County Road 99) in a 2007 Chevy truck when she came to the road’s junction with U.S. 31. She reportedly continued through and had enough lift to avoid a front-end collision with the steep railbed embankment.
There were no skid marks to indicate that Clarke became aware of the impending crash.
Atmore Fire Department personnel were sent to the wreck site, where they had to cut the windshield from the vehicle, which landed on its passenger side, to free the injured woman from the mangled mass left of the truck’s front body, undercarriage and engine compartment.
“She can be thankful that there weren’t any log trucks or other traffic on 31 at that time, and that there wasn’t a train coming,” said a city fireman. “She can also be thankful that the truck landed on the tracks and didn’t hit the embankment head-on.”
Trooper reports don’t indicate to which hospital the injured woman was taken. A friend, Lisa Hudson, reported that Clarke suffered a crushed pelvis, as well as a broken femur, broken hip bone and broken wrist. She was reportedly undergoing surgery Monday afternoon.
CSX Transportation officials were sent to the scene and halted all rail traffic in the area for more than an hour until the pickup was towed from the tracks.