PIKE COUNTY, Ala. (WSFA) - The names of some victims who were either killed or injured in a series of vehicle crashes late Monday night in Pike County are being released. Their funeral service information is listed at the bottom of this report.
The crashes happened around 10:40 p.m. Monday on County Road 2276, also known as the Henderson-Glenwood Road. Pike County Sheriff Russell Thomas said three vehicles were involved in the crash, including a log truck and two cars.
Tuesday morning the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency confirmed three people were killed and four were injured.
ALEA said a 17-year-old was killed when the 2008 Nissan Sentra he was driving struck the trailer of an 18-wheeler that was entering the roadway on Pike County 2276. That driver has since been identified as Michael Sanders, a senior at Goshen High School.
Goshen head football coach Bart Snyder identified Sanders and released a photo of him after being granted permission to do so by his family.
“He was just an outstanding young man and just had a brilliant smile," said Bart Snyder.
Snyder says he taught coached and lived in the same neighborhood as Sanders. Just last week the two spoke about his future plans.
“He loved our ROTC program here and his plans were to be in the military or go into sports medicine or be an athletic trainer," said Snyder.
A passenger in Sanders’ vehicle, Denny “Trey” Strickland, 18, of Luverne was also killed during the crash.
Trey was a senior student-athlete at Crenshaw Christian Academy, according to the school.
“My phone started ringing about one this morning,” said a teary-eyed Rebecca Baggett, the headmaster at CCA. “Of course, you never like a call that says one of your students has been killed. Trey was a unique young man, very talented athletically. He was a joy and a delight to be around. Always had a smile on his face, always uplifting to his friends.”
The school is offering counseling to Trey’s classmates.
ALEA said another passenger in the Nissan was injured and transported to a local hospital. Local authorities have confirmed one of the victims in the Nissan was ejected from the vehicle.
Coach Snyder could confirm the injured passenger is Goshen High School senior John Paul Bosewell. He remains hospitalized as of Tuesday.
“He is in stable condition right now. I know that family as well and we have been community with them and praying that all continues to go well there,” said Snyder.
Moments after the initial crash, the driver of the log truck, West Wheeler, 70, of Troy, got out of his vehicle to see what happened. He was hit by a 2007 Mercedes C230 driven by Wesley Lavon Person Jr., 23, of Goshen, and died from his injuries at the scene.
Snyder told WSFA that Wheeler was the great grandfather of two of Goshen High students. When students return to Goshen High next week they will have counselors on hand.
“We are built on our faith, friendship, and family. That is the thing that we have here. We are Goshen Strong," said Snyder.
No photo or other information about Wheeler was immediately available.
Person, along with his passenger and a passenger in Wheeler’s truck, were transported to local hospitals for treatment of undisclosed injuries. The names of those passengers have not been released.
In his four seasons at Troy, Person finished his career averaging 15.9 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game over 128 games. In his senior campaign, Person broke the Troy scoring record, the Sun Belt three-point record and became the first-ever Trojan to score 2,000 points. He is the son of former NBA and Auburn star Wesley Person, Sr. and the nephew of Chuck Person, the former Auburn basketball assistant coach caught up in a bribery scandal.
Alabama State Troopers continue to investigate the cause of the crashes.
Michael Phillip Sanders - Green Hills Funeral Home says funeral services will be held Friday, Aug. 2, at its chapel in Troy.
A visitation will be from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. The service will take place at 11 a.m. with Rev. Rick Hayes and Rev. Derek Sowell officiating. Burial will follow the visitation at Green Hills Memorial Park Cemetery.
Sanders’ classmates will serve as honorary pallbearers. Those include Zack Baker, Robert Henderson, Chase Bryan, Jason Dickert, Trason Wilkes and John Taylor.
Trey Strickland - Turners Funeral Home says funeral services will be held Saturday, Aug. 3, in Luverne.
A visitation will be held at the Crenshaw Christian Academy Gymnasium from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. Funeral services will take place immediately following at 3 p.m. Additional details are said to be forthcoming.
West Wheeler - Information is not yet available.