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MONDAY, MAY 21, 2007
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4 dead, 1 badly hurt after wrecks

By Chris Paschenko
chris@decaturdaily.com · 340-2442

Four people died and a fifth was in critical condition from a deadly weekend of wrecks in the Tennessee Valley.

Morgan County Coroner Russ Beard said a Huntsville man, who was a National Guardsman, died Sunday when his vehicle left a rural road near Eva and struck a tree.

Joel Howard Curry, 30, died of blunt force trauma, Beard said following the 5:10 p.m. wreck on Eva Road just south of Old Eva Road.

“I spoke with his father, and he (Curry) was headed back from weekend training, possibly in Birmingham,” Beard said. “His wife and whole family were devastated.”

Eva volunteer firefighters found Curry trapped in his car, which sustained heavy front-end damage. State troopers said he did not wear a seat belt.

Also Sunday, troopers worked a fatal wreck in Cullman County. Coroner Gary Murphree said passenger William Joseph Copeland, 85, of Cullman died of blunt force trauma when a car driven by his wife, Mary M. Copeland, 83, collided with a pickup driven by Reda L. Cordle, 52, of Vinemont.

The collision happened on Alabama 157 about four miles north of Cullman at 9:49 a.m. The women’s conditions weren’t known. Troopers said William Copeland wore a seat belt.

Troopers identified a man killed Saturday afternoon in a wreck near Moulton as Gregory L. Kirby, 37, of Moulton. Witness Chad Fretwell said Kirby had his emergency flashers on when he passed him on Alabama 36 shortly after 7 p.m.

Kirby’s vehicle left the rural, two-lane highway, and Fretwell found the car crushed against trees in the woods about a mile down the road. Troopers said Kirby wore his seat belt.

The other fatal accident occurred Saturday in Morgan County near Lacey’s Spring. Mary Tingle Selah, 80, died at Huntsville Hospital hours after the 3:30 p.m. collision at U.S. 231 and Alabama 36. Troopers said Selah wore her seat belt.

Zsaquez Murphy, 50, of Decatur remained in critical condition late Sunday at Huntsville Hospital, following a two-vehicle wreck Saturday near Decatur. She was one of five people injured at 2:15 p.m. on Alabama 20 near Beltline Road.

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