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WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2007
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Man allegedly causes 3 wrecks, leaving 1 critical

By Deangelo McDaniel
dmcdaniel@decaturdaily.com · 340-2469

HARTSELLE — A man who authorities believe is responsible for three accidents on Alabama 36 on Monday apparently was not injured.

But police say the second accident led to a husband and wife going to separate hospitals, and the husband remains in critical condition.

“Right now, we’re still trying to figure all of this out, and it remains under investigation,” Hartselle officer Chad Vest said.

Here’s what investigators report:

Between 5:15 and 5:30 p.m. Monday, Michael Terry, 29, of 611 Morgan St., Hartselle, was traveling west on Alabama 36 when his vehicle collided with Cassandra Garrison’s vehicle.

Garrison, 31, of 113 Loyd Private Drive, Hartselle, was traveling west. She pulled over and was not injured, Vest said.

The officer said Terry continued traveling west for about five blocks until his vehicle collided with a vehicle driven by Joe Barber, 47, of 148 Timber Gap Lane, Hartselle.

Vest said Barber lost control of his vehicle and struck a tree.

Barber’s vehicle overturned, trapping him and his wife, Vickie Barber, 46.

Hartselle Fire Chief Steve Shelton said emergency officials extracted the Barbers from their vehicle.

“It took a while to get them out because the vehicle was almost destroyed,” Shelton said.

An ambulance took Joe Barber to Hartselle Medical Center, then a helicopter flew him to Huntsville Hospital.

Vest said Joe Barber is in critical condition.

Vickie Barber was taken by ambulance to Decatur General Hospital. A hospital spokeswoman said she was admitted and released Tuesday.

After colliding with the Barbers, Terry left the road and collided with a vehicle driven by Matthew Bynum, 17, of Hartselle, Vest said.

Bynum was getting ready to turn onto Alabama 36 when Terry came along, the officer said.

“The impact pushed Bynum’s vehicle into the parking lot of a gas station nearby,” Vest said.

Bynum was transported to Hartselle Medical Center, where he was treated and released, investigators said.

Vest said Terry continued to travel west until his vehicle stopped near Sycamore and Alabama 36. He went to the emergency room at Hartselle Medical Center.

“At this point, I’m not sure if he was treated, but I know he was not admitted to the hospital,” Vest said.

Vest said Terry voluntarily gave a written statement and urine and blood samples.

While investigators are not ruling out anything, Vest said, he doesn’t expect officers to charge Terry with leaving the scene of an accident.

He said they are looking at past medical problems that may have been a factor.

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