Dodge driver, child seriously injured; Jeep driver still critical
By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Reports
Although official reports indicate that five members of the same family suffered only minor injuries in a July 26 head-on collision on U.S. 31, that apparently wasn’t the case.
Initial reports show that an Atmore man, Joseph D. Barnes, whose vehicle collided around 3 p.m. with one driven by Mary Doyle of Century, Fla., remained in a Pensacola, Fla. hospital with what a family member called “very critical” injuries.
Barnes had to be cut from his vehicle and was airlifted from the wreck site to Sacred Heart Hospital, where last reports were that he remained in “very critical” condition.
According to a comment posted last week to the Atmore News Facebook page by a family member, the Atmore man remained in a coma, on a ventilator. Attempts to obtain further updates have been unsuccessful.
Reports also indicated that Doyle was treated for her injuries and released at North Baldwin Infirmary in Bay Minette. An adult passenger in Doyle’s vehicle, as well as Doyle’s three children, were likewise examined, treated and released at Atmore Community Hospital.
But Doyle’s mother said her daughter and one of her grandchildren continued to complain of pain and discomfort after their medical releases, and both were taken by private vehicle to Sacred Heart. (Authorities don’t file medical updates after crashes, unless a person involved later passes away as a result of the wreck.)
Juanita McCaw Watson, who traveled to Florida from Texas after learning of the violent mishap, said her daughter underwent emergency surgery to repair a shattered foot. Her 3-year-old grandchild, who was strapped in directly behind his mother, was found to have a broken collar bone, a concussion and skin burns from the restraining straps of his carrier, she said.
“Their injuries weren’t life-threatening, but they were life-altering,” Mrs. Watson reported. “They might have looked like they were minor, and they were all released by hospitals, but my daughter suffered a devastating injury. She had to have five or six screws in her foot to put the bones together. She won’t be able to put any weight on it for three months, and she’ll never be able to run again. She’s going to need a lot of care herself, so she can’t take care of three kids.”
Mary Doyle, who had to be cut from the cab of the heavy-duty Dodge pickup she was driving, has been released from Sacred Heart. The 3-year-old and the other two children are still recuperating at home from their injuries.
The Florida woman’s 2012 Dodge Ram and Barnes’s 2006 Jeep Cherokee collided head-on about a half-mile west of Atmore Country Club.
Watson said the family members can thank their lucky stars they were riding in the durable pickup, which is owned by Eddie W. McCaw, the driver’s grandfather, who was also injured in the collision.
Watson said this week McCaw “is still having some issues with his ribs and breathing” but is showing improvement.
“Thankfully, they were in that Dodge,” she said. “It’s a miracle they’re still alive. They probably wouldn’t have survived if they had been in anything else.”