Coroner: Lapse in judgment can be fatal

Published 2:35 am Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Longtime Covington County Coroner Norman Hobson shared some sobering advice with Andalusia Kiwanians Monday on All Hallows’ Eve, or Halloween.

In almost 40 years as a coroner, he said, he’s seen all kinds of death.

“Tell your children, tell your spouses, that life is very, very fragile,” he advised. “One wrong step; one wrong turn; one lapse of good judgment; a lapse of memory. All of them can snuff a life out in just a snap.

“Tell them, ‘Always wear your seat belts,’ ” I can’t tell you how many deaths result from non-use of seatbelts.

“And don’t ever text and drive,” he said.

He recalled a wreck several years ago on Hwy. 331 north of Opp. Two college girls from another state were travelling. The driver wrapped the car around a tree, and the friend sleeping in the backseat died as a result.

“The last text on the driver’s phone said, ‘It’s the middle of the night, I’m lost, it’s pouring rain, and I’m scared.’ ”

But it’s not always a texting mistake, he said.

“We’ve had four people killed in car wrecks in the last two weeks pulling into oncoming traffic in some of the most wide-open areas of highways in the county.”

“Sometimes, they’re looking at the big picture and not the small picture, and miss that there’s a truck heading toward them,” he said.

The three wrecks that claimed four lives were at intersections that are known to be dangerous – the intersection of Hwy. 55 and Covington County 82, and the intersection of Hwy. 84 and Horn Hill Road.

The worst travel spots in the county are from “Thomas Huggins’ school bus on the side of 55 to a couple miles north of Red Level,” he said, “and from the double bridges on Hwy. 84 and Lake Frank Jackson.”

“So many accidents have happened because someone pulled out and didn’t look good,” he said.

The deadliest spot in the county, he said, is the curve at Buck Creek Church.

Hobson shared stories of murders, suicides, and freak accidents.

“So may accidents I’ve seen could have been prevented if someone did or did not do a certain thing,” he said. “I wouldn’t do it every week, but talk to your family – and especially your children – about using good judgment.”