A collision between an 18-wheeler and a state van on Friday, October 3rd, left a fiery, mangled heap on a rural highway in Alabama that killed six applicants for prison jobs along with their driver, Correctional Officer Rodney Kelley.
Alabama Prison System spokesman Brian Corbett said all seven aboard the van died as flames that rose from the twisted wreckage made it difficult for responders to cut into the overturned van to recover the bodies. The process took several hours, and towing company workers said the wreck was among the worst they'd seen. "The crash was horrendous enough, but the fire added to the tragedy," said Montgomery Mayor Bobby Bright, who went to the scene.
Former Eufaula High School principal, John Beasley, says he remembered Correctional Officer Kelley. age 36. "Rodney always had a great smile," he said. "He was one I took an interest in for some reason, but then lost track of him after school. I've seen him around often, and I always remember thinking to myself that he was one of the good ones in the world."
A Richmond police officer was taken off life support on Tuesday, October 7th, three days after he crashed his car on a rain-slicked road while answering another officer's call for help during an assault.
Police Officer Bradley Moody, an eight-year veteran, was headed north on Marina Bay Parkway at 8:05 a.m. Saturday when he lost control of his Ford Crown Victoria police cruiser and slammed sideways into a light pole near Regatta Boulevard, authorities said. Moody was declared brain-dead as a result of the crash.
Officer Moody died at 2:45 a.m. at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek , said Richmond police Lt. Mark Gagan, a department spokesman. Moody's organs were donated to a man in San Francisco "who had 24 hours to live." "The last thing Brad did was to save a life," Gagan said.
Moody was a K-9 officer and SWAT team member whose dog, Rico, was in the car at the time of the crash. The dog is recovering from minor injuries.
"Brad was held in the highest regard by his peers," Police Chief Chris Magnus said in a statement. "His work ethic was extraordinary, and his commitment to the community of Richmond and his profession unparalleled. Needless to say, this is a very difficult time for RPD and Brad's many friends in the community."
Officer Moody, age 29, is survived by his wife, Susan, a former Richmond police dispatcher, and their two young children.
An Oconee County sheriff's deputy, Patrol Deputy David Gilstrap, died late Thursday, October 9th, after a car struck him as he directed morning traffic outside Oconee County Primary School.
Deputy Gilstrap was hit about 7:25 a.m. while standing in front of the school's Hog Mountain Road entrance, authorities said. The deputy was transported to St. Mary's Hospital in Athens where was pronounced dead at 10:25 p.m. after a period on life support.
The car's driver, a 62-year-old Watkinsville woman, has not been charged, pending the end of the investigation,
"This is devastating to the men and women who worked with David and appreciated the work he did," said Oconee County Sheriff Scott Berry.
A 16-year veteran of law enforcement, Deputy Gilstrap, 49, joined the Oconee Sheriff's Office in 2005 after years as a deputy at the Clarke County Jail. He is survived by his wife Tammy, who is an executive assistant at the sheriff's office whom he married this year as well as his daughter, Mandi Jo.