Betty Lavender dies following accident Sunday in Walnut Hill
By By Adam Prestridge
Atmore was dealt a blow Sunday afternoon when one of its residents was killed in an automobile accident on Hwy. 97 south of Wiggins Lake Road in Walnut Hill, Fla.
A paramedic with Atmore Ambulance Service pronounced Betty M. Lavender, 80, who lived on Popular Street near A.C. Moore Elementary School, dead at the scene of the two-vehicle crash, according to a report issued by the Florida Highway Patrol.
The death of Lavender has been the talk of the town this week, as friends and family mourn her loss.
According to the report, Lavender “violated” the right of way of Patrick O. Henry who was traveling southbound on Hwy. 97 by pulling out of a private driveway into his path. Henry, 46, attempted to avoid the collision by swerving to the left and crossing the center line, but the front of his 1999 Volvo struck the driver’s door of Lavender’s 2006 Ford. The impact forced Lavender’s vehicle south and into a ditch on the east shoulder. Henry’s vehicle came to rest facing north on the east shoulder north of Lavender’s vehicle.
Henry was trapped in his vehicle for more than half an hour until rescue crews could free him using the Jaws of Life. LifeFlight flew him to Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola, Fla. where he was listed in critical condition that evening. According to a hospital spokesperson, he was not listed in the hospital’s database late Tuesday afternoon.
Lavender, who was originally from Flint, Mich., was a member of Walnut Hill Mennonite Church and was married to Meredith Lavender for more than 50 years before he passed away three years ago.
Gloria Kyles, Lavender’s next-door neighbor, thought highly of her friend and says she was shocked when she heard that she had been killed.
Kyles said Lavender was best known for working in her yard and garden.
Darrell agreed, stating that working with her flowers gave her pleasure.
Funeral arrangements were unavailable at press time.