AFD, Nokomis VFD respond to isolated location
By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
Atmore Fire Department personnel were among the first responders called to the isolated rural scene of an August 29 single-vehicle crash that left a 74-year-old Baldwin County man in critical condition.
According to Florida Highway Patrol reports, Melvin Leonce Carpenter was driving his 2002 GMC 1500 northward on Pineville Road, just north of Jake Road, in northwestern Escambia County, Fla. and near the Alabama state line, around 12:40 p.m. when the accident happened.
Reports show that, “for an unknown reason, the pickup truck traveled off the roadway onto the grassy shoulder, making contact with multiple trees before coming to a final rest in the southbound lane of the roadway.”
The initial emergency notification sent Walnut Hill volunteer firefighters racing to the isolated wreck site, which is just south of the Escambia County, Ala. line, which serves also as the state line.
An AFD engine and command vehicle, along with a Nokomis VFD unit, were also dispatched when reports were that Carpenter was entrapped in the vehicle.
“We have a mutual aid agreement with Walnut Hill,” said AFD Chief Ron Peebles. “If there’s an entrapment reported, we automatically get a callout.”
Peebles said the AFD units arrived to find that the 74-year-old man was not entrapped. Peebles said he, AFD First Captain Daniel Love and Nokomis VFD personnel were able to yank open the bent passenger door and slide the victim onto a backboard.
“It looked like he was in pretty bad shape,” Peebles said.
Carpenter was taken by ambulance to Atmore Community Hospital, from where he was airlifted to Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola. The most recent reports from FHP are that he remained in the facility, in critical condition, as the week began.
Peebles wouldn’t speculate on unconfirmed reports that the driver suffered a medical emergency that caused his vehicle to run off the rural roadway, and FHP reports were not specific on that point.
According to reports from the scene, the truck’s bed cover was torn off, and both sides of the truck sustained moderate to substantial damage, with most of the damage occurring on the driver’s side, from the front bumper to the rear bumper.