Poarch fireman killed in crash

Published 1:21 pm Monday, October 25, 2010

Escambia County law enforcement officials promised to crack down on teen pranks in the wake of a Brewton man’s death in a wreck Wednesday evening.

James Luther McRae, 34, was killed when his 2003 Chevrolet pick-up truck left Stanley Road and overturned according to Alabama State Trooper officials. The accident occurred just before 8 p.m. Wednesday in the community situated about 15 miles northwest of Flomaton.

Escambia County Sheriff Grover Smith said McRae’s death was the result of an incident that began when four teens reportedly “toilet paper rolled” the property of a home in the area near McRae’s home. McRae apparently thought the group was trying to steal something from his property.

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“We’re tired of this rolling yards stuff,” Smith said. “We have zero tolerance for this kind of activity in this county.”

Smith said the four teens could have been seriously injured or killed in the incident that claimed the life of McRae.

“This is a serious situation,” Smith said. “From now on, if we catch anyone doing this kind of activity, they will be arrested and booked. They will be brought down, with their parents, to face the judge.”

The crash occurred reportedly when McRae pursued the vehicle occupied by the four unidentified teens responsible for the “rolling” incident. McRae thought they were taking something from his property and had made contact with law enforcement and was reportedly pursuing the vehicle to obtain a license plate number to report.

“He apparently lost control of the vehicle and crashed as a result,” Smith said. “This is a tragic incident. We are taking action to prevent this type of incident from happening again.

Smith said charges will be filed against those who continue to observe the practice of “rolling.”

“Anyone caught doing that will be charged with criminal mischief,” Smith said. “Those charges will be filed whether the victim wants to press charges or not.”

McRae was a 1994 graduate of W.S. Neal High School and had previously been a firefighter for the East Brewton Fire Department. He was most recently employed as a member of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians’ Fire Department near Atmore.

Sharon Delmar, public relations spokesperson for the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, expressed condolences for the family of McRae.

“We are deeply saddened by the death of Firefighter McRae,” Delmar said Thursday. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time.”

Delmar said McRae had been a part of the Poarch Fire Department for about a year and a half.

Smith said he has already discussed the situation with school system leaders in the county.

“I have talked with the three school systems in our county and explained our position on this kind of activity,” Smith said. “I have urged them to impose any kind of sanctions they can to help stop these things from happen.”

Officials with the Alabama State Troopers Evergreen post said the incident remains under investigation.