Heflin woman dies after crash on icy U.S. 78
by Laura Camper
lcamper@annistonstar.com
Jan 09, 2014 | 12750 views |  0 comments | 75 75 recommendations | email to a friend | print
HEFLIN — Black ice on U.S. 78 near the Cleburne County line was a factor in a wreck that claimed the life of a Heflin woman Wednesday night, according to officials who responded to the scene.

Cathy McComb, 64, died after being airlifted to UAB Hospital in Birmingham, said Calhoun County Coroner Pat Brown.

Chief Deputy Matt Wade said Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office dispatchers received a call at 9:39 p.m. about the accident.

“All we could hear was screaming,” Wade said.

Deputies arrived after Alabama State Troopers, who already had control of the scene, Wade said.

Sgt. Steve Jarrett of the troopers emailed a statement Thursday that said ice on the road may have contributed to the crash. The accident was still under investigation, according to the statement.

According to the statement, the vehicle McComb was driving collided with another vehicle at mile marker 171, about 5 miles west of Heflin. A third vehicle then struck the wreckage, according to the statement.

McComb was injured when the third car crashed into the wreck, Brown said. A passenger in McComb’s car also was injured and taken to Regional Medical Center in Anniston, Brown said.

Van Roberts Jr., assistant chief of the Quad Cities Volunteer Fire Department, also responded to the wreck. Roberts said besides McComb, two people were taken to hospitals, though he couldn’t provide any information about them. Roberts provided medical assistance to McCombs and accompanied her in the ambulance to Word of Life Church in Coldwater, where he helped transfer her to the air ambulance, he said.

“We provided basic medical care and assisted the Alabama State Troopers with traffic and clearing the road,” Roberts said.

He said the highway was closed from 9:30 p.m. until about midnight, when the road was cleared and the Alabama Highway Department had spread sand on the ice patch.

Rebecca White, spokeswoman for the Alabama Department of Transportation, said the department was notified that a pipe had burst in the area and water had reached the road and frozen.

White said ALDOT has a website, http://alitsweb.dot.state.al.us/RoadConditions, that motorists can use to check road conditions on state roads. The site lists weather hazards and road work.

The Calhoun County Water Authority and Calhoun County Engineer Brian Rosenbalm had no record of burst pipes in the area.

Staff writer Laura Camper: 256-235-3545. On Twitter @LCamper_Star.

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