BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WALA) – According to the official accident report, the tread came off the tire of a sport utility vehicle on August 5 which left one person dead.
The Ford Explorer, which was driven by 41-year-old Arthur Edward Lewis IV, plunged off the General W.K. Wilson Jr. Bridge, commonly referred to as the Dolly Parton Bridge.
Debra Hartley, 42, of Mobile was killed during the crash and five others were injured.
The report states that the left rear tire was smaller than the other three on the SUV and was visibly worn.
The report also states that when the tread came off, there was a loud noise, and in an attempt to locate the cause of the noise, Lewis diverted his attention at which time the SUV ran off the right side of the roadway. When Lewis returned his attention to the roadway, and overcorrected to the left to prevent colliding with the outside concrete barrier, the Explorer started to overturn in the roadway. It then collided with the inside concrete barrier, and continued to overturn. It rolled over the concrete barrier and came to a final rest right side up in the river below Interstate 65.
Damion Martin, 6, of Selma was also thrown from the vehicle onto the bridge. Daviandre Hartley, 18, David Martin Jr. 7 and Antonia Hartley, 38, all of Selma, were in the SUV when it went into the river.
Trooper Kevin Cook said the Alabama Department of Public Safety has given details of the crash to the Baldwin County District Attorney’s office for review and that his office had no further comment regarding the incident.