Harley accident claims Atmore man’s life
By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
Alabama State Troopers are investigating two recent Escambia County crashes, including one that claimed the life of an Atmore man last Sunday, November 8.
Troopers reported that 71-year-old William Van Cooey was killed when the 2018 Harley-Davidson motorcycle he was operating left Jack Springs Road and overturned. Cooey was pronounced dead at the scene.
The fatal mishap occurred around 6:30 p.m. on Escambia County 1 (Jack Springs Road), about eight miles north of Atmore.
McCullough Volunteer Fire Department Chief Eddie Kirby said Cooey was apparently headed toward McCullough when he and his Harley approached the junction of Jack Springs and Mack Pond roads.
“It looks like he went straight through, hit the ditch by Mack Pond Road, and flipped,” said Kirby.
Meanwhile, troopers continue to investigate an October 29 crash that occurred during the adverse weather stirred up by Hurricane Zeta and seriously injured an Atmore man. As their probe has continued, troopers have been able to contradict some of the initial reports provided by local public safety personnel.
First reports indicated that a bicycle rider was struck by a vehicle as he pedaled along Alabama 21, near Dixie Catfish Shack, in the rain, and that the bicycle rider was flown by medical evacuation helicopter to an area trauma center.
Wrong on both counts, troopers said.
Senior Trooper Gary Cole of ALEA’s Evergreen Trooper Post reported that the seriously injured man — Doyle Orvin Johnson Jr., 47, of Atmore — was not riding a bike, nor did his injuries require transport by air.
“ALEA Troopers responded to a single-vehicle crash involving a pedestrian Thursday, October 29, in Escambia County,” Cole said in an email. “(Johnson) was seriously injured while walking across the roadway, when a 2011 Buick Enclave, driven by 38-year-old Jennifer K. Burkett of Flomaton, struck Johnson in the roadway.”
Johnson was “transported to a local medical facility for treatment,” Cole added, indicating that the Atmore man was most likely taken by ambulance to Atmore Community Hospital.