By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
Authorities confirmed this week that the man who was behind the wheel of a pickup involved in a November 20 crash that caused the death of a local man, was under the influence of alcohol when the fatal crash occurred.
Escambia County Detention Center records show that 61-year-old Mathiew Norman Wilson of Atmore was arrested by Alabama State Troopers after the fatal mishap and was charged with one count each of DUI and homicide by vehicle. He was released three days later when a $2,500 bond was posted.
Trooper reports show that Wilson was driving a Dodge Ram westward on U.S. 31 around 1:30 p.m. when he attempted to make a left turn onto 21st Avenue. He turned into the path of a 2000 Ford Excursion Limited that was eastbound on the federal highway.
The driver of the Excursion, 18-year-old Phenix Nicole Crews of Atmore, was unable to avoid a collision, and her vehicle slammed into the passenger side of the Dodge.
Jacob Oryan “Jake” Bailey, 34, of Atmore was a passenger in the pickup and was critically injured when the vehicles hit. Bailey was taken by ambulance to Atmore Community Hospital, but efforts to save him were unsuccessful.
Crews escaped major injury, although the vehicle’s airbags deployed with enough force to shatter the passenger-side windshield. The Excursion wound up wedged against a stop sign at the intersection.
According to Alabama Code, a negligent homicide offense involving a violation of Alabama’s DUI (driving under the influence) or BUI (boating under the influence) is a Class C felony. A violator could face, upon conviction, a prison sentencing ranging from a year and a day to 10 years, along with a fine of up to $15,000.
Alabama Law Enforcement Agency officials had not responded by Tuesday’s press deadline to a request for Wilson’s blood alcohol content at the time of the crash. Escambia County Sheriff Heath Jackson said ALEA is the only agency that would have that information.