Bright lights contributed to triple-fatal Pike County crash, report finds

New information released in fatal Pike County triple accident

PIKE COUNTY, Ala. (WSFA) - A preliminary report has been released into the crash that killed three people and injured four others in Pike County in late July.

In its report, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency found that the crash that killed Trey Strickland, 18, and Michael Sanders, 17, on July 29 was caused, in part, by the bright headlights on the log truck they collided with.

The lights also played a role in another fatal crash moments after the first that subsequently claimed the truck driver’s life.

Trey Strickland
Trey Strickland (Source: Crenshaw Christian Academy)
Michael Sanders, a 17-year-old Goshen High School senior, was among several killed in a Pike County crash on July 29.
Michael Sanders, a 17-year-old Goshen High School senior, was among several killed in a Pike County crash on July 29. (Source: Sanders family via Coach Bart Snyder)

The three-vehicle crash happened around 10:40 p.m. that Monday night on Henderson-Glenwood Road, approximately two miles outside of Troy.

Pike County Fatal Crash
Pike County Fatal Crash (Source: WSFA 12 News)

According to ALEA’s report, Wheeler’s log truck had just pulled off a dirt road onto County Road 2276, but he hadn’t fully straightened the vehicle into his lane before the first crash occurred.

The car, a 2008 Nissan Sentra driven by Sanders, slammed into the log truck’s rear axle, which was still slightly over the center line in Sander’s lane.

A diagram of the crash shows the locations of each vehicle in the first collision of the triple-fatal July 29 Pike County crash
A diagram of the crash shows the locations of each vehicle in the first collision of the triple-fatal July 29 Pike County crash (Source: Alabama Law Enforcement Agency)

Strickland and Sanders were killed in the car. A third passenger was ejected but survived. He was flown to a Montgomery hospital by medical helicopter, according to the accident report.

The driver of the log truck, 70-year-old West Wheeler, was killed after he stepped from his vehicle to see what had happened.

The bright lights were still engaged when Wheeler got out, Alabama State Troopers determined. That meant the driver of another oncoming vehicle, Wesley Lavon Person Jr., 23, of Goshen, did not see Wheeler in the road before it was too late.

A WSFA 12 News photo from the scene of the Pike County crash shows the 18-wheeler's axle still stilling over the center line following a fatal crash.
A WSFA 12 News photo from the scene of the Pike County crash shows the 18-wheeler's axle still stilling over the center line following a fatal crash. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

Another man who had gotten out of the log truck was seriously injured.

Copyright 2019 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.