Daily photo by John Godbey|
Trinity Volunteer Fire Department members at the scene of Monday’s fatal wreck on Alabama 20. Pronounced dead at the scene was the driver of the truck, 63-year-old Harold Wayne Walker of Athens.
Scrap-metal Truck In Fatal Wreck
On Alabama 20; Driver Killed
Athens man dies in tractor-trailer wreck
By Ronnie Thomas
TRINITY — An Athens trucker died Monday when his tractor-trailer, loaded with scrap metal, wrecked and overturned on Alabama 20, troopers said.
Morgan County Deputy Coroner David Parks said he pronounced Harold Wayne Walker, 63, dead at the scene at 10:40 a.m. He said Walker died of blunt force trauma to the head and chest.
Walker was traveling east to Tennessee Valley Recycling, according to TVR employees at the crash site near Sewell Road, one mile west of Trinity.
They said Walker was bringing the load from the company’s Sheffield division plant.
“I talked to him at the yard about 7 o’clock this morning,” said TVR’s David Laudano. “He was unloading and was on his way to Sheffield to get that load. He seemed fine. We were just talking about how hot it was.”
The tractor-trailer landed on the driver side, pinning Walker between the steering wheel and seat, said rescuers. Bill Pettey, chief of the Trinity Volunteer Fire Department, said he and members of his department extricated Walker from the cab.
The tractor-trailer stretched across the eastbound lanes, spilling metal into the median and into the inside westbound lane, temporarily closing it, too.
A state Department of Transportation worker said the wreck backed up eastbound traffic to Hillsboro.
TVR brought a crane and removed the remaining scrap from the trailer, putting it into the median. Branum’s Wrecker Service towed the rig away. TVR brought another trailer and placed all of the metal into it.
At 11:30, DOT workers rerouted eastbound traffic into a westbound lane.
TVR’s Tom Ewing said DOT reopened the eastbound lanes shortly before 1 p.m.
Two residents of Grace House, a women’s drug recovery facility across from the wreck scene, said they heard what sounded like an explosion.
“We came outside, saw the wreckage and phoned 911,” one of the women said.
“All we can do now is pray for that man’s family,” said the other.
Police Chief Chris McLemore said the call came at 10:05. He said he was coming from Town Hall and was first to arrive at the scene, four minutes later. He said Trinity emergency medical technicians were at work at 10:11 a.m.
Joel Denbo, TVR chief manager, said Walker was a contract driver for his firm and hauled for Robinson Scrap Haulers of Ardmore, Tenn.
When a reporter contacted the owner, Pam Robinson, she said she wasn’t able to speak about the accident.
“I didn’t know the man, but I knew he was an experienced driver,” Denbo said. “I don’t know how much weight he carried, but this particular load was well within the legal limits, as regulated by the state.”
Troopers continue to investigate the accident.
Frank Smith of Madison, who works in Decatur, is Walker’s son-in-law. He came to the scene to inquire if there was a fatality. He said Pam Robinson phoned his mother-in-law and told her Walker was involved in an accident.
“He drove overnight trucking for more than 20 years,” Smith said. “I believe he started with Robinson about a year ago. He has an impeccable driving record.”
Smith said Walker’s wife is Glynda Walker and the couple’s children are daughters Kelli Smith of Madison and Andi Walker of Athens. They have two grandchildren.
Limestone Chapel Funeral Home will announce arrangements.
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