Local man killed instantly when freight train slams into SUV
By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
A 19-year-old Perdido man was killed instantly when a CSX freight train slammed into his SUV at the Martin Luther King Drive crossing early Sunday evening.
The wreck claimed the life of Koby Wooten of Perdido, son of Melissa Wall and Ed Wooten. He is also survived by his stepmother, Becky Wooten, a brother, Devin Wooten, his fiancé, a young daughter and a stepson.
Police said the young man was the only occupant of the vehicle.
The fatal collision occurred around 6:30 p.m. at the rail crossing, just a few yards off Nashville Avenue (U.S. 31). Emergency personnel, except for a handful who awaited the arrival of the county coroner, began leaving the scene around 9:30 p.m.
Several people who commented on the Atmore News Facebook page related that the crossing arms and lights had malfunctioned earlier Sunday. Atmore police officials confirmed that but said CSX responded quickly and the problem had been fixed when the fatal collision occurred.
“We contacted CSX around 1:30 p.m.,” Atmore Police Sgt. Darrell McMann said. “The issue was repaired, (but) I don’t have a time right now. The crossing arms and lights were functioning at the time of the crash.”
The impact knocked the Honda Pilot about 40 yards from the crossing, where it came to rest, right-side-up, at the bottom of the steeply graded railbed.
Wooten was remembered as a fun-loving individual who would do anything for a friend, or even someone he barely knew.
“My heart breaks for his family,” Kaleigh Solo wrote. “I guess the only comfort they can have is knowing he is in heaven, because Koby had a heart of gold. He’s up there, smiling ear to ear, probably punching God’s shoulder and making a joke.”
Betty Arrington Farley commented that the 19-year-old made a favorable impression on her, right off the bat, saying: “I only met this young man a few weeks ago, but really liked him.”
The cause of the crash is still under investigation, McMann said.