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UPDATE: 2:35 P.M.: BREAKING NEWS: Hwy. 80 Accident

FROM STAFF REPORTS

DEMOPOLIS – A morning accident involving 14 vehicles left two area men dead and two other people in critical condition.

Coroner Stuart Eatmon said Clark Pickle and Jeremy Marlowe were both killed when their cars collided with a semi-truck on Hwy. 80 near the entrance to Rock-Tenn.

Eatmon said both men, who were traveling separately, were killed on impact. Their cars were severely burned.

A third man whose car also collided with the semi was not seriously injured. His identity was not immediately available.

Eatmon also said two women were listed in critical condition following the accident, but he could not give the name of the hospital where they were taken. Injured persons were transported to Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital and hospitals in Birmingham, Tuscaloosa and Meridian, Miss.

Several early reports said an unidentified woman was airlifted to a Tuscaloosa hospital where she was listed as dead on arrival. Both Eatmon and a spokesman with the Alabama Highway Patrol said that report was erroneous.

According to Corp. Chris Ellis, AHP spokesperson, the accident was caused by low visibility that was the result of heavy fog and smoke. The smoke originated from a nearby field belonging to Brian Compton. Compton was reportedly burning the field to clear it. He could not be reached for comment.

Pickle was an employee of Rock-Tenn. Marlowe was a contractor working a construction job at the paper mill. Chuck Smith, human relations manager for Rock-Tenn, said the company is doing all they can to help the family members cope with the tragedy.

For more information, see Wednesday’s edition of The Demopolis Times.