One Dies In Highway 97 Wreck In Walnut Hill

March 3, 2008

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(Updated 2:50 p.m. 3/3/08)

The Florida Highway Patrol says 80 year old Betty M. Lavender of Atmore died in a two vehicle accident on Highway 97 Sunday afternoon. The accident happened just before 3:00 on Highway 97 between Arthur Brown Road and Wiggins Lake Road.

Troopers say she pulled out of a driveway into the path of a southbound Volvo vehicle driven by Patrick O. Henry, 46, of Pensacola. Henry swerved to avoid Lavender’s vehicle, but struck it in driver’s side, pushing it into the ditch, according to the FHP. The accident happened in a curve at Shirley’s Country Collectibles.

Henry was trapped in his vehicle over 40 minutes while firemen worked with the Jaws of Life to remove him. He was transported from the scene by LifeFlight to Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola where he was listed in critical condition.

Paramedics pronounced Lavender dead on scene. Bystanders said Lavender had left a wedding at the nearby Walnut Hill Mennonite Church a short time before the accident.

There were no passengers in either vehicle, according to troopers. Charges are pending, according to the FHP.

The accident is still under investigation by the Florida Highway Patrol. The Walnut Hill Volunteer Fire Department, McDavid Volunteer Fire Department, Atmore Fire Department and Atmore Ambulance responded to the scene.

For more exclusive NorthEscambia.com photographs from Sunday afternoon’s fatal crash on Highway 97, click here.

Pictured above: Patrick O. Henry, 46, of Pensacola was trapped in this vehicle for nearly half an hour while firemen worked to free him. Pictured below: Betty Lavender, 80, was pronounced dead in this vehicle at the scene of Sunday afternoon’s accident in Walnut Hill. NorthEscambia.com exclusive photos, click to enlarge.

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