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THURSDAY, MAY 24, 2007
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Ten-year-old John William Hastings IV was riding his truck-driver father, John Hastings, of Clinton, Ark., when they were involved in Wednesday's three-vehicle collision. Nobody was seriously hurt in the accident, with the exception of an East Lawrence High School student.
Daily photo by Gary Lloyd
Ten-year-old John William Hastings IV was riding his truck-driver father, John Hastings, of Clinton, Ark., when they were involved in Wednesday's three-vehicle collision. Nobody was seriously hurt in the accident, with the exception of an East Lawrence High School student.

High school senior hurt in wreck
3 vehicles in Hillsboro collision

By Kristen Bishop
kbishop@decaturdaily.com 340-2443

HILLSBORO — An East Lawrence senior may not be able to walk the aisle at his high school graduation this week after suffering injuries during a three-vehicle wreck Wednesday on Alabama 20 in Hillsboro.

Medical personnel on the scene said Terrance Bankhead, 18, of Hillsboro was conscious and talking following the accident, but may have suffered head injuries. MedFlight transported him to Huntsville Hospital where he remained in the trauma center with his condition unavailable late Wednesday.

Family members who gathered near the wreckage said Bankhead had just left his home on Lawrence County 400 to pick up his 16-year-old sister from school.

His graduation is Friday.

Though the wreck badly mangled two cars and left an 18-wheeler overturned in a ditch, two men, a pregnant woman, a young boy and a puppy that were all involved in the wreck left with only minor injuries.

Raymond Coombs, 26, of Huntsville was walking and smoking a cigarette minutes after the accident.

He said he was traveling east on Alabama 20 with his wife, 4-month-old son and new puppy at about 2 p.m. when his vehicle and Bankhead's car collided.

An 18-wheeler following Coombs' car struck Bankhead's car before tipping over on its passenger side and crashing into the ditch.

Minor injuries

Coombs suffered a minor shoulder injury and wife Cristy, who was about seven months pregnant, may have injured her leg and arm. Their son, Dominic, who was resting quietly in his car seat after the accident, escaped the wreck with no apparent injuries.

An ambulance took the family to Decatur General Hospital for treatment.

The 18-wheeler's driver, John Hastings of Clinton, Ark., said his 10-year-old son, John William Hastings IV, was napping on a sleeper in the back of the truck when the accident happened. The father said he was amazed that they had no injuries.

'Just slid off the bed'

"I had my seat belt on, but I would've thought that he would've gotten slung forward and hit the back of my seat," said Hastings. "But he just slid off the bed."

John William, who had never been in an accident before Wednesday, said the experience was "freaky."

The Hastings crawled through a window underneath the truck and climbed up the bank before ambulances arrived.

Hastings, who works for P.J. Transportation, was delivering a load of chicken meat Wednesday from Arkansas to Chattanooga.

He said he may be able to salvage his trailer, but not the truck.

Danny Knighten of Hillsboro was on the scene comforting family members and taking care of the Coombs' puppy. He said he lives near the intersection and has witnessed numerous accidents there.

'Really dangerous'

"People have a hard time pulling out onto 20 because everyone's driving so fast. And 400 is a busy road going down to the river," he said. "I'm telling you, it's really dangerous."

Knighten said officials should install a caution light at the intersection to alert drivers.

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