Local man clings to life after Sunday wreck
By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
A Florida Panhandle family reportedly escaped Sunday (July 26) with only minor injuries from a violent, head-on collision on U.S. 31, but an Atmore man was reportedly clinging to his life in a Florida hospital as midweek neared.
Preliminary reports filed by Alabama State Troopers show that the collision — between a 2005 Jeep Cherokee and a 2012 Dodge pickup — occurred around 3 p.m., about a half-mile west of Atmore Country Club.
Trooper reports show that Joseph D. Barnes, age not provided, of Atmore was driving the Jeep, and Mary Doyle, age not provided, of Century, Fla. was driving the Dodge pick-up. They were traveling in opposite directions when “the vehicles collided head-on.”
Barnes reportedly suffered major trauma and was flown by medical evacuation helicopter to Sacred Heart Hospital, where a family member reported Monday afternoon that he remained in “very critical” condition.
The five people in the pick-up reportedly escaped the crash with only minor injuries, although the driver and four passengers — including three children — were treated for various injuries. One of the five was taken by ambulance to Atmore Community Hospital.
Reports are that a local woman rescued the three children from the mangled remains of the vehicle in which they were riding, then she and an Atmore police officer hustled the frightened youngsters to an ambulance.
Atmore Fire Department reports show that city fire and rescue personnel were dispatched at 3:05 p.m. after dispatchers received a report of “a motor vehicle wreck with possible entrapment.” (update on the injuries
Fire Chief Ron Peebles said AFD crews used Jaws of Life to cut Barnes from his vehicle and another person from the Dodge. Traffic came to a standstill on the western end of U.S. 31, to its junction with the easternmost portion James Road, while APD officers diverted traffic to an alternate route.
State troopers continued Tuesday their investigation into the crash.