Four people were killed in a tragic car crash in Tuscaloosa County. Two of the victims were children, two others were a teacher and a retired teacher from Aliceville High School. According to State Troopers it happened Wednesday around 9 p.m. on Highway 82 West, near Echola Road. Officials say it was a three vehicle crash. Stephanie Nettles Barnes, 54, LeWanna Nettles, 59, and two children, ages 2 and 8, were all killed. A pickup truck and an 18-wheeler were also involved in the crash. Troopers say the driver of the pickup is 16 years old and the 18-wheeler driver is 43 year old Brian Dreasher from Florida. Both were taken to DCH Regional Medical Center. Troopers tell WVUA alcohol was not involved. The cause of the wreck is under investigation.
People in Pickens County, where the two women taught, are mourning and remembering the Barnes and Nettles. "It's going to be a tough year, but we're going to be strong and come together as a school. They will be missed," says Harry McCay, one of Nettles' students.
As faculty and students arrived through the doors of Aliceville High School Thursday, they knew things would be different. Dylean English a sophomore at Aliceville High School says, "Someone sent me a text message and I thought they were playing at first and after my mom got a few phone calls, I was like this is really serious. I couldn't believe it, it was really shocking." Dr. Leonard Duff, Superintendent of Pickens County Schools, says, "My first reaction was, I was startled, I was wow'd. When and how and what and why and how come. Cause I know them well, I knew their mom and they both were my teachers."
Nettles taught Social Studies for 23 years, Barnes had just retired in May from teaching Family and Consumer Science. Students and faculty alike remember both as positive forces in the school. Frank Pate, a fellow teacher, says, "She loved the kids and as we found out today the kids all loved her back." "It will be kind of hard not going to her class everyday after school before football practice and talking to her because she also was like, you need to hurry up and go to practice cause you know we want you guys to win Friday. That'll be kind of tough, not hearing words of motivation from her," says McCay. Dr. Duff says, "You can't always anticipate these things, but on the other hand you just deal with them as they occur."
Students say they will never forget Barnes nor Nettles. McCay says, "They were two good teachers and we will really miss them a lot."
Superintendent Duff said the two children who were killed were grandchildren. Meanwhile, Friday's football game between Aliceville and Gordo will go on as scheduled because school officials say that's what Nettles and Barnes would have wanted.
By: Daniel Sparkman, WVUA News
September 30, 2010 6:15 p.m.