An Atmore man, driver of the only vehicle involved in an April 14 crash on Alabama 21, was initially arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. Now he could also face a vehicular homicide charge.
That charge became a possibility after Antonio Richardson, 38, of Freemanville, died Monday, April 16, reportedly from severe head trauma he suffered in the crash. Richardson was one of two passengers ejected from a northbound vehicle that ran off the state highway, overturned and came to rest in the roadway’s southbound lanes.
According to reports filed by Alabama State Troopers, the mishap, which happened around 2:53 p.m. at the highway’s 4.6-mile marker, landed 28-year-old Willie Hudson of Atmore, who was driving a 2007 Scion tC, in the county jail on a DUI charge.
Authorities began considering the vehicular homicide charge shortly after doctors at University of South Alabama Medical Center lost their battle to save Richardson’s life.
According to Alabama Criminal Code, vehicular homicide that involves a violation of the state’s DUI law is a Class C felony, punishable upon conviction by a prison term ranging from a year and a day to 10 years, along with a fine of up to $15,000.
State troopers reported that Hudson and two passengers were heading north in the Scion when the vehicle inexplicably “went into the median and overturned” about 100 yards south of the Robinsonville Road junction. The car dug a rut through the median grass, flipping at least once as it spun out of control before coming to rest in the easternmost of the two southbound traffic lanes.
Troopers reported that Wade Johnson III, 27, of Atmore was also thrown from the tumbling vehicle and injured. Robinson and Johnson each landed among the debris scattered for several yards along both southbound lanes of the state highway.
Hudson and Johnson were taken by ambulance to Atmore Community Hospital, where each was treated for injuries that weren’t considered to be life threatening. Troopers said none of the three were wearing a seat belt.
During the early stages of the crash investigation, northbound traffic moved at a slow but steady pace along one lane as emergency crews awaited a tow truck and cleanup of the debris, while southbound travelers had to merge into the left lane and follow Robinsonville Road to MLK Drive and into Atmore.
Troopers continued to investigate the circumstances that led to the fatality, and no other details were available by Tuesday’s press deadline.