Officials: Driver avoided checkpoint before crash

Published 2:09 pm Wednesday, June 17, 2015

One of two helicopters takes off Tuesday night.

One of two helicopters takes off Tuesday night.

Officials have confirmed the 33-year-old Greenville man who died in a River Falls crash last night failed to yield a license checkpoint near Huggins Road and County Road 107 moments before his death in a head-on collision that left two other people seriously wounded.

River Falls Mayor Patricia Gunter said the River Falls Police Department was assisting Red Level Police with the checkpoint when Daniel Ray Soloman turned around when he saw the road block.

The Gunters actually arrived at the scene of the crash shortly after it occurred.

“Before we got to the intersection we saw lights and it was bad,” she said.

The accident seriously injured both Soloman’s passenger, and the driver of the second vehicle, Whitney Lauryn Wright, 23, of Andalusia. Ms. Wright is a kindergarten teacher at Red Level Elementary School.

Soloman previously served time for manslaughter, court officials in Butler County confirmed.

According to Greenville Advocate archives, Soloman, then 30, was driving an ATV with a 9-year-old child, his stepdaughter, when he drove off a dirt embankment on Wildwood Road near Greenville in 2012.

Soloman was arrested at the time of the accident, and a Butler County grand jury charged him with manslaughter in 2014. Soloman accepted a plea deal on June 5, 2014, in which he was sentenced to 15 years, but put on five years of supervised probation with credit for the 30 months already served, according to Butler County DA Charlotte Tesmer.

Covington County Coroner Norman Hobson pronounced Soloman dead at the scene Tuesday night. Soloman was not wearing a seatbelt. Law enforcement sources at the scene said Soloman had failed to stop at a roadblock in River Falls.

Both Soloman’s passenger and the driver of the second vehicle, Wright, were airlifted from the scene Tuesday night.

First responders worked the scene until the early morning hours Wednesday.

According to the River Falls Fire Department, when they arrived on scene they requested Life Flight and extrication was initiated by the department.

Gantt Area Fire Rescue helped set up a landing zone for Life Flight and Andalusia Fire Department was called to help with a “lengthy extrication.”

River Falls PD, River Falls Fire, Gantt Fire and Rescue, Red Level Police, Advanced EMS, Andalusia Police, the Sheriff’s Office and Alabama State Troopers all responded to the scene.

The Star-News will update as more details become available from ALEA