Accident victims count their blessings on 331

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 25, 2006

At approximately 10 a.m. Monday, an accident involving five vehicles left three people transported to the emergency room with non-life-threatening injuries and eleven others counting their blessings.

The accident happened on 331 North at Fuller's Crossroads just outside of the Luverne city limits.

Crenshaw County Sheriff's Investigator Ronnie White said that Donald Lee Jones, who was driving a 2001 Dodge Durango, was apparently stopped and waiting to turn into his residence. Roger Alan Howrey and his three sons, Nicholas, Nathan and Andrew, all of Roswell, Ga., were riding in their blue 2001 Toyota Sienna. They had stopped behind Jones in order to wait for him to turn

White said that a third vehicle, a black 1988 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24, driven by Steven Lee Harris of Highland Home, apparently struck the back of Howrey's van, causing it to hit Jones' Durango before going into oncoming traffic.

Donel Cook of South Port, Fla., was traveling south on 331 when the trailer he was pulling was hit by Howrey's van, causing the trailer to swerve.

As Cook attempted to regain control of his trailer and vehicle, the trailer sideswiped a 2002 Toyota Sequoia, carrying Mark and Janet Thomas and their three children, Michael, John and Taylor, causing them to run off the road and into a ditch. No one in the family was injured, even though the dents caused by Cook's trailer ran across the passenger side window and door where their six-year-old daughter, Taylor, was sitting.

&#8220I saw the trailer wham against my window,” she described, putting her hands very close together. &#8220Here's the window and here's my face.”

The Thomas family, who reside in Marietta, Ga., had been on vacation at Santa Rosa Beach in Florida.

&#8220It was so scary,” Janet Thomas said as she looked at their vehicle, which was her birthday present last year. &#8220It all happened so fast.”

&#8220When the blue van hit me, I fishtailed, and it shot me across the road,” Cook said. &#8220I heard all that crashing and banging behind me.”

&#8220If it had just been two more seconds, I would have missed you completely,” Cook told Mark Thomas.

According to Alabama State Trooper James Moorer, three people who were riding in the Chevy Cavalier driven by Harris sustained injuries and were taken to the emergency room. They were Tiffany Lolley, 14, Stephanie Lolley, 13, and Linda Brown, 16. Harris received minor cuts in the accident.

Roger Howrey said that when he looked in his rearview mirror, he saw a black car coming behind him, so he &#8220pulled to the left to miss the Durango.”

&#8220That's when I clipped the trailer,” Howrey said. &#8220But, thank the Lord I missed an 18-wheeler by inches. The truck driver did a great job of avoiding me. When we all got out, I gave him a great big hug.”

Howrey and his three sons, Nicholas, Nathan and Andrew, were uninjured. They were on their way to Roswell, Ga., after traveling from Destin, Fla.

&#8220We had been visiting my parents,” Howrey said.

Responding to the scene of the accident were members of the Luverne Fire Department, Luverne Rescue, the Honoraville Fire Department, the Crenshaw County Sheriff's Office, the Fuller's Crossroads Fire Department, and the NEC Fire Department. Brantley Fire Department and Brantley Rescue were on standby in Luverne.