Accidents Associated with the Mentone Bridge

or the Blind Curve Approach from the Southeast

 

On January 21, 2005, a senior ALDOT administrator was asked about the accident data which prompted Senator Barron's accelerated effort to replace the Mentone Bridge.  The ALDOT representative replied "... I planned to review general accident data associated with the bridge.  We do not have copies of any specific accident reports; I have requested a shred-out of cumulative accident data between mileposts that include the bridge.  When those data become part of the public record, you will certainly be welcome to a copy.  Im hopeful well have relevant accident data prior to the public involvement meeting; if so, well inform you and everyone else what weve found.  To get a specific accident report, I suggest you contact the law enforcement entity that handled the accident or the Department of Public Safety."

 

The Department of Public Safety in Montgomery says that accident data can only be retrieved if one knows the date of the accident and the names of the people involved in the accident.  They do not index their data by location and, thus, are unable to recognize patterns of accidents which might indicate a particular road design defect.  The Department of Public Safety says that only ALDOT maintains accident data indexed by location and that that information is not available to the public.

 

The Town of Mentone has files of accident reports for the Mentone area beginning in 1989.  These reports have been searched for all accidents related to either the Mentone Bridge or the blind curve approaching the bridge from the southeast.  Here are brief summaries of each of the accident reports found during that search.


12Apr2005
Thurmond (pickup with trailer), Holder (tractor/trailer) Thurmond rounded the blind curve behind a tractor/trailer which suddenly slowed when its driver saw Holder exiting the bridge.  Thurmond, going approximately 40 MPH on damp pavement, braked hard and lost control of his vehicle which moved into the path of Holder who swerved into a road sign on his right and then veered left across the road while trying to avoid a collision with Thurmond.  Thurmond was injured and both vehicles were damaged.  The investigating officer reported, "In this officer's view, this accident is a result of the dangerous narrow bridge set in a curve with vision obstructed by the curve in the roadway and trees lining the northbound approach to the bridge".


28Oct2004
Battles (tractor/trailer), Young (car), Campbell (pickup), Huff (tractor/trailer) ─ Huff rounded the blind curve going too fast and side-swiped Battles, Young and Campbell who were crossing the bridge.  Campbell was injured.  All vehicles were badly damaged.

03Jun2004 ─ Millican (truck with wide trailer), McDonald (pickup) ─ McDonald rounded the blind curve as Millican exited the bridge.  There was not enough room between the guard rails for Millican's 13-foot-wide load and McDonald.  McDonald was injured and his vehicle was badly damaged.

14Dec2003 ─ Little (car), Diaz (car) ─ Little was stopped behind another car at the southeast end of the bridge waiting for a tractor/trailer to exit the bridge.  Diaz rounded the blind curve and crashed into the rear end of Little.

16Jan2003 ─ Fisher (car), Kilgore (car) ─ Kilgore lost control of his car as he rounded the blind curve and crashed head-on into Fisher as Fisher exited the bridge.  Both vehicles were badly damaged.

14Jul2002 ─ Carter (pickup), Unknown (truck) ─ Carter rounded the blind curve and was side-swiped by a garbage truck exiting the bridge.

25Apr2002 ─ Lawson (pickup), Ballenger (pickup) ─ Lawson was stopped at the southeastern end of the bridge waiting for a tractor/trailer to exit the bridge.  Ballenger rounded the blind curve and crashed into the rear end of Lawson.

27Jul2001 ─ McNutt (truck), Fussell (pickup) ─ McNutt was slowly entering the bridge from the southeast to avoid a pedestrian.  Fussell rounded the blind curve and crashed into McNutt's rear end.  Fussell's vehicle was badly damaged.

08Nov2000 ─ Guerrero (car), Williams (tractor/trailer) ─ Guerrero was stopped at the southeast entrance to the bridge waiting for a tractor/trailer to exit the bridge.  Williams rounded the blind curve and crashed into Guerrero's rear end.  Guerrero's vehicle was badly damaged.

21May1999 ─ Essex (pickup), Nicely (pickup with trailer) ─ Essex, entering the bridge from the blind curve, and Nicely, crossing the bridge, side-swiped each other.

23Feb1999 ─ Cockburn (truck), Morley (pickup with trailer) ─ Cockburn, entering the bridge from the blind curve, and Morley, crossing the bridge, side-swiped each other.

24Apr1997 ─ Carter (tractor/trailer), Heard (truck) ─ Carter was stopped at the southeast entrance to the bridge waiting for a car to cross.  Heard rounded the blind curve and crashed into Carter's rear end.  Heard's vehicle was badly damaged.

08Apr1997 ─ Bowman (car), Hawkins (van) ─ Bowman was stopped at the southeast entrance to the bridge waiting for a log truck to exit the bridge.  Hawkins rounded the blind curve and crashed into Bowman's rear end.

05Sep1996 ─ Crider (car), Browder (truck) ─ Browder was stopped at the southeast entrance to the bridge waiting for a log truck to exit the bridge.  Crider rounded the blind curve and crashed into Browder's rear end.  Crider's vehicle was badly damaged.

?????1995 ─ School Bus, Truck ─ School Bus and Truck crossed bridge at same time and knocked off each others mirrors.  The date of this accident is estimated.  The school bus driver retired after the accident.

15Jun1989 ─ Ledbeller (tractor/trailer), Croley (suv) ─ Croley rounded the blind curve, spun sideways and was hit on the passenger side by Ledbeller who was crossing the bridge.  Croley's car was pushed back 110 feet by Ledbeller, and Croley was injured.  Both vehicles were badly damaged.

?????1954 ─ Gipson (car)  ─ Gipson rounded the blind curve, not going too fast.  The road was damp and Gipson slid across the road and crashed head-on into the bridge rail.  Two were injured, one was killed.  The vehicle was badly damaged.

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