Mother, daughter critically injured, too, when SUV hits hay trailer
By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
An Atmore woman and her 9-year-old daughter are reportedly on the slow road to recovery from critical injuries they suffered last Wednesday (November 24) in a two-vehicle collision that claimed the life of another child who was in the car with them.
According to Alabama State Trooper reports, the fatal mishap occurred shortly before 4 p.m., roughly three miles west of Atmore on U.S. 31.
Reports show that Wandra T. Gibson, 40, was driving a 2014 Chevrolet Equinox when she attempted to pass a 1986 Freightliner tractor-trailer and struck a hay-laden trailer being pulled by the slow-moving semi, which had just pulled onto the two-lane highway and had not yet gotten its speed up.
A Nokomis Volunteer Fire Department firefighter, who reported that his vehicle was almost hit by the Equinox just prior to the crash, was able to immediately alert emergency personnel of the calamity.
Rescue personnel from Nokomis VFD, Atmore Fire Department and Perdido Volunteer Fire Department worked to cut the compact SUV’s roof and frame away in order to get to its occupants. The victims were reportedly held in place by their seatbelts and shoulder restraints, making it more difficult to rescue them from the Chevrolet, which landed on its passenger side in the roadway.
“There were complications, but it was a good, joint effort between Atmore, Nokomis and Perdido,” said AFD Chief Ron Peebles. “The people who needed rescuing were rescued in a timely manner, and we got the two patients out in the best possible manner.”
Peebles pointed out that the two Medstar air ambulances that transported the injured woman and child to an area trauma center were able to do so within what rescue personnel refer to as “the Golden Hour,” meaning that the patients were able to begin receiving advanced medical care within an hour of the crash.
Mallory Gibson, daughter of Wandra and Jimbo Gibson, was critically injured and has reportedly undergone at least one surgical procedure. She has been transferred to an undisclosed Birmingham hospital, where she reportedly remains in critical condition. Wandra Gibson reportedly remains in critical but stable condition.
The other passenger in Gibson’s vehicle, a 10-year-old whose name has not been released by authorities, was pronounced dead at the scene. He was a student at Escambia County Middle School. Escambia County Superintendent of Education Michele McClung said Tuesday she sent all counselors to ECMS Monday and asked school administrators “to retain as many as needed for as long as needed to ensure the social and emotional well-being of the classmates and staff.”
The 18-wheeler was driven by Jonathan T. Jeter, 50, also of Atmore. Jeter reportedly complained of back pain but refused medical treatment at the scene.
U.S. 31 was closed to through traffic for more than four hours, from Baldwin County Road 47 to Industrial Drive in Atmore, as rescue personnel extricated the victims, state troopers conducted their investigation and tow truck drivers removed the damaged vehicles.