Tri-City Ledger -

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By Joe Thomas
Ledger Editor 

Three die in fiery crash

Head-on collision on Highway 31 is under investigation


November 10, 2022

Joe Thomas

Firemen work to contain blaze in Sunday afternoon crash

A fiery crash Sunday afternoon in Flomaton left three people dead as citizens tried to free one victim from a burning vehicle before it burst into flames.

Christopher P. Bell, 41 of Flomaton, Alfreco Lett, 50, of Century and Shannon P. Lucas, 48 of Flomaton were all pronounced dead at the scene of the 3:20 head-on collision near the 58 mile marker on Highway 31 inside the Flomaton town limits, according to information released by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency.

Witnesses said Lucas was headed south on Highway 31 when his 2017 Dodge 1500 pickup veered across the median of the four-lane highway and struck Bell's 2017 Ford Explorer head on. Lett was a passenger in Lucas' truck.

Kevin Powell said he was working in his yard across from the crash scene when he heard the collision. Century resident Jerry Fischer came upon the crash shortly after it happened.

Lucas' vehicle was on its side and one person, later identified as Lett, was outside the vehicle and Powell pulled him away from the burning vehicle.

"Fire was all around us," Powell said. "I moved him (Lett) away from the fire. It's still a blur.

Fischer, Powell and a third person attempted to roll Lucas' truck over but were unsuccessful. Powell said he had a knife in his hand and smashed the windshield trying to get Lucas out of the burning vehicle.

Lucas's vehicle then burst into flames and he was unable to escape.

Fischer said witnesses told him Lucas' truck came across the median and hit Bell's vehicle head on without Lucas ever hitting the brakes. Both vehicles went off the shoulder with Lucas' vehicle catching fire.

Fischer said they tried to get Lucas out of the vehicle but were unable to do so when the car exploded with flames.

Powell said attention quickly turned to the SUV, which was occupied by Bell. Powell said at first he didn't know who was in the vehicle, but he then noticed it was Bell, who he said was a good friend he had known his entire life.

"When I realized it was Chris it was tough," Powell said. "There were three or four guys trying to help but their faces are a blur."

"We tried our best and I can only hope somebody would do that for me," Powell said. "They were all willing to help and we tried our best."

Powell was treated on the scene for a cut on his arm when he smashed the windshield on Lucas' vehicle. He later went to the hospital and received seven stitches in his arm.

Flomaton Fire Chief Steve Stanton said when firemen first arrived on the scene Lucas' vehicle was fully involved and firemen worked to not only put out that fire but to keep it from spreading to Bell's vehicle.

"When the 911 call came in with a collision involving fire we dispatched out Friendship, Lambeth and Century," Stanton said. "Once we got there the one vehicle was fully involved and the grass was burning under the other so that became a priority as well."

ALEA state troopers were back at the crash site Tuesday, shutting down the north-bound lane of Highway 31 and using drones and other technology to recreate the crash and determine what exactly happened.

Flomaton Police Chief Johnny Wilson sent a letter to ALEA thanking the troopers for their work Sunday afternoon.

"I would like to commend four of your state troopers on a job well done," Chief Wilson wrote.

Chief Wilson noted that once Flomaton police were dispatched to the scene, ALEA troopers were notified immediately.

"All troopers were very professional and worked together to complete this investigation," Wilson wrote. "I'm very proud of these troopers who were involved in this matter. I wanted to thank everyone involved for their hard work, professionalism and dedication to the job."

ALEA's highway patrol division continues its investigation.

As of press time Wednesday, no funeral arrangements had been obtained for Bell, Lett or Lucas.


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