Postal worker, Vicky Lynn Bell, remembered by her co-workers
By By Adam Prestridge
Fog is believed to be the cause of a deadly crash that claimed the life of a Frisco City woman early Thursday morning when her sport utility vehicle burst into flames after pulling into the path of an 18-wheeler on Alabama 21.
According to a release issued by the Alabama State Troopers Office, 50-year-old Vicky Lynn Bell was traveling east on Escambia County 10 between Atmore and Huxford in her 1998 Chevrolet Blazer when she struck a 2003 Freightliner truck as she pulled onto the highway. The driver of the truck, 47-year-old Cornell Pierre of New Orleans, was headed north on Alabama 21 and upon impact drug Bell's vehicle several 100 feet before coming to a halt. Bell's vehicle then became completely engulfed in flames and attempts by motorists to extinguish the flames failed. She was later declared dead at the scene.
Officials said it appears Bell was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident and that alcohol is not believed to be a factor in the accident. Pierre was transported to Atmore Community Hospital for evaluation.
Some witness at the scene of the accident said it appeared that Bell may have run the stop sign due to the heavy fog and others said they believed she pulled out unknowingly in the path of the semi.
Officials on the scene said Bell was apparently on her way to work when the crash occurred. Bell, a mother three, worked at the Bay Minette Post Office. Friday, her co-workers were still in shock over the loss.
"The customers on her routes have been calling and expressing their condolences and asking when her service is so they can send flowers so they can show their appreciation for her," Bay Minette Postmaster Larry Kessler said.
As for her job performance as a mail carrier, Kessler said Bell was highly regarded.
"She was a very good worker," he said. "She was a very pleasant person to work with, her customers and fellow employees all thought very highly of her and she will be greatly missed by the Postal Service."
Kessler added that Bell started her career with the United States Postal Service in Bay Minette, but occasionally filled in at other post office locations including the Atmore Post Office. Atmore Postmaster Lester Cogollo and his staff were also taken back by the news of Bell's death.
"The employees were in shock," Cogollo said. "It was a very sobering experience. To assist the employees in dealing with this, I had a grief counselor come by (Friday) morning and that seemed to work out very well and I believe it may have brought some comfort to the whole situation."
As did Kessler, Cogollo thought very highly of Bell as an employee.
"She worked here periodically off and on," he said. "We borrowed her from Bay Minette when we were short on carriers. She had contemplated transferring here at one time. The employees here and her customers she served in the community liked her very much. She loved and was very close to her family and to her faith. She was such a joy to be around."
Thick fog rolled into the Escambia County area and south Alabama in the early morning hours Thursday challenging motorists as they commuted to work. The accident, which occurred just before 6 a.m., caused traffic to be rerouted to Butler Street for several hours while safety crews worked to clean up the wreckage.
The Poarch Creek Volunteer Fire Department was the first on the scene and later dispatched the Atmore Fire &Rescue Department to assist in working the wreck. The Atmore Police Department also responded. David's Paint &Body towed the wreckage to Atmore.