The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

September 27, 2013

Athens woman, unborn son, Hoover man killed in I-565 wreck

— Friends and family of Marissa Baugher of Athens are devastated following the death of the 26-year-old mother and her unborn son, Micah, who both died following a Wednesday afternoon wreck on Interstate 565 in Huntsville. A Hoover man, Frederick Bender, also died in the two-vehicle crash.

Baugher, who was due to deliver Micah on Oct. 10, according to her Facebook page, died around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday at Huntsville Hospital due to injuries suffered in a head-on collision with another vehicle at Mooresville Road and I-565 around 4 p.m., officials said. She leaves behind a husband, Matthew, and their young daughter, Maleia, as well as other family members. She worked as the office manager at The Enrichment Center Group in Decatur.

Her funeral will be at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Limestone Chapel Funeral Home. Visitation will be from 2 to 3:15 p.m. Saturday at the funeral home. Burial will be in Fairview Cemetery.

Athens Mayor Ronnie Marks, who said he knew the family, said, “Your heart hurts and aches, not only for the young mother about to deliver a child but also for her family and friends. It will be very difficult to overcome for her family and friends. They will need a whole lot of love and support, and this is the community to do it.”

Police said Bender, who died at the scene, was driving in the right, westbound lane of I-565 in a silver Toyota Avalon when something caused him to lose control.

“A witness stated that he was driving west in the left lane next to a Toyota Avalon,” said Huntsville Police Communications Officer Harry Hobbs. “He said the Toyota started coming into the left lane and swiped his vehicle, scrapping it down its right side. He said he slowed down and tried to move out of the Toyota’s way onto the grassy median. He then said, the Toyota passed his car, driving across the median and then went into the eastbound lanes of I-565.”

The Toyota Avalon then struck and grazed the tires of an 18 wheeler traveling in the eastbound left lane and, at the same time, struck head-on and at a high rate of speed Baugher’s black Chevy Equinox SUV, which was traveling in the eastbound lane, Hobbs said.

Bender was pronounced dead by HEMSI medics and a doctor from Crestwood Hospital, Hobbs said.

Baugher had to be extricated from her vehicle, he said.

“She was trapped in her vehicle and had to be cut out by Huntsville Fire, HEMSI, Madison County Rescue Squad and Segers Volunteer Fire Department,” Hobbs said.

“The preliminary evidence points to Mr. Bender being at fault for this wreck,” Hobbs said. “We don’t know if Mr. Bender possibly suffered some kind of medical problem before this wreck occurred.”

An officer requested a blood toxicology test be performed and sent to the Department of Forensic Sciences for analysis.

Bender was in the right westbound lane in a silver Toyota Avalon when the accident occurred, Hobbs said.

“A witness stated that he was driving west in the left lane next to a Toyota Avalon,” Hobbs said. “He said the Toyota started coming into the left lane and swiped his vehicle, scrapping it down its right side. He said he slowed down and tried to move out of the Toyota’s way onto the grassy median. He then said, the Toyota passed his car, driving across the median and then went into the eastbound lanes of I-565.”

Hobbs said the Toyota Avalon first struck and grazed the tires of an 18 wheeler  traveling in the eastbound left lane and, at the same time, struck head-on and at a high rate of speed Baugher’s black Chevy Equinox SUV, which was traveling in the eastbound lane.

Bender was pronounced dead at the scene by HEMSI medics and a doctor from Crestwood Hospital, Hobbs said.

Baugher had to be extricated  from her vehicle, he said.

“She was trapped in her vehicle and had to be cut out by Huntsville Fire, HEMSI, Madison County Rescue Squad and Segers Volunteer  Fire Dept,” Hobbs said.

“The preliminary evidence points to Mr. Bender being at fault for this wreck,” Hobbs said. “We don’t know if Mr. Bender possibly suffered some kind of medical problem before this wreck occurred.”

An officer requested a blood toxicology test be performed and sent to the Department of Forensic Sciences for analysis.

 

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