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Limestone County crashes kill 1, injure 2

By Seth Burkett 340-2355

ATHENS — A wreck killed an Athens man and two drivers suffered injuries in separate accidents in Limestone County on Tuesday night, state troopers said.

Gary Wade Wray, 43, of Athens died when his car ran off East Limestone Road just north of Copeland Road at about 7:10 p.m., said Trooper Curtis Summerville, a state trooper spokesman.

Limestone County Coroner Mike West said Wray appeared to be traveling south.

"It looked like he went off on the right side, overcorrected, went off on the left side and hit a driveway culvert head-on. It was massive intrusion into the car, even though it was a good-sized car," said West.

West pronounced Wray, who was entrapped in the wreckage, dead at the scene from blunt force trauma to the head and chest.

Wray's face was so badly injured they used fingerprints to identify him positively, West said.

"The family was 99 percent sure it was him. He had ID on him and they recognized his clothes and recognized his car," West said.

His father, brother and three sons survive Wray, an auto mechanic.

A graveside service for Wray will be at 11 a.m. Friday at Fowlkes Cemetery with Spry Funeral Home directing.

West said Wray is not related to Tommy Lee Wray, 50, of Elkmont, who troopers said was injured in a motorcycle wreck 10 minutes later on Interstate 65 about one-half mile south of the Tennessee state line.

Ardmore fire Chief Tim Toone said other motorists may have saved Wray's life.

"Some people stopped because he was in the fast lane laying in the roadway. A wrecker truck coming through saw him and stopped in the roadway to block traffic. So, he was lucky," Toone said.

Wray was transported to Athens-Limestone Hospital by ambulance and later transferred to Huntsville Hospital. A hospital spokeswoman said he remained in fair condition in a regular room Wednesday afternoon.

Toone said family members told him Wray was scheduled to undergo surgery Wednesday to repair his hand, which was badly hurt in the crash.

Toone said he didn't know what caused the crash.

"He (Wray) said there was a hubcap or something in the roadway. He hit it or something. I don't know if they found the hubcap or not," he said.

Another driver was taken to Huntsville Hospital by MedFlight following a wreck at 9:30 p.m. on Alabama 53 one-half mile south of Ardmore, state troopers said.

Ardmore firefighters also responded to that wreck.

"She ran off the road and hit one of the steel utility poles," Toone said. "The first people to her on the scene were bystanders. They said she was unconscious, and she was unconscious when we got there. ... She was conscious by the time they flew her."

The driver, Tasanee Jordan, 24, of Huntsville was treated and released, a hospital spokeswoman said Wednesday.

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