Memorial planned for two accident victims

MOBILE,  Ala. (WALA) – Family members said they received word Monday that the bodies of two accident victims who died in a fiery crash had been positively identified.

One of the accident victims was from the Birmingham area, the other the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Two wooden crosses were erected Monday, March 24 on Grand Bay Wilmer Road at the site of a fiery car crash that claimed two lives Saturday night.

The crosses were placed at the scene by the Mission of Hope where both men were participants in the drug and alcohol rehabilitation program.

44 year old Freddie Hollingsworth and 36 year old Donny Ridley were inside the car that crashed into the trees and burst into flames around 7:30 Saturday night.

“He was about as good a guy as you can meet.  His heart was as big as the world,” Bo Ridley said.

Bo Ridley is in charge of the music ministry at the Mission of Hope.  Ridley said his brother arrived at the Christian based drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility last Thursday.

“He told me, Bo I want a place that I can get away from the life I’m living right now, and he told that this was the place for him,” Ridley said.

Donny Ridley, right, told his brother Bo, left, he thought the Mission was the best place to help him turn his life around.
Donny Ridley, right, told his brother Bo, left, he thought the Mission was the best place to help him turn his life around.

Freddie Holllingsworth had been at the facility for several months.  After completing the 90 day program he stayed on to help out in the halfway  house, and Reverend Jim Jordan says he was making excellent progress.

“I talked to his employer this morning, he was on time every day to work, and was going the extra mile, and they thought a lot of him, and I talked to his church family this morning, and they told me he was in church every time the doors were open, and Freddie was really doing good,” Rev. Jordan said.

The flames from the fire burned all the way to the top of these pine trees.  According to the state troopers report the fire was so intense not even the vehicle could be identified.  Even before the bodies were positively identifed the Mission of Hope said it was moving forward with a memorial for the two men.

“Thursday at 11 o’clock we’re having a memorial for both of the men in our chapel, and some of their family members will be here, employers, and people that really cared about them will be here,” Rev. Jordan said.

Family members will be present at the memorial, however the family burial will have to wait until the remains are released.

“We’re going to wait to get the report back to completely identify that it is my brother, but I already know that it is.  We going to have a funeral at his home church in Birmingham, Alabama following the report that we get,” Ridley said.

Ridley and other family members were contacted by the forensics department and Alabama State Troopers late Monday with the positive identification on the victims.   Tasha Ridley said her brother-in-law Donny was identified by through his dental records.  She said Hollingsworth was identified by tatoos on his body.

It’s believed the men were returning to the Mission when their car crashed.  state troopers said speed was a factor.  They’re still investigating.

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