A preliminary investigation shows excessive speed was a factor in the Christmas evening wreck that claimed the lives of three Geneva High School students, police said Wednesday.
According to Geneva police Lt. Michael McDuffie, speeding has been determined to have played a role in the wreck that killed Cassidy Dunn, Emilee Fain and Addyson Martin, all of whom were 16, and critically injured one other passenger. A fifth occupant in the vehicle was treated for minor injuries at a local hospital and released.
“The preliminary portion of the investigation is complete, and that information has been submitted to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency,” McDuffie said.
According to McDuffie, based on the damage to the vehicle, the driver was traveling at a high rate of speed. Martin was identified as the driver. The three people killed in the wreck were not wearing seat belts when the vehicle left the road and ran into a wooded area off Westville Avenue around 6 p.m. Christmas Day.
“The speed limit assigned to the area where the wreck occurred is 25 mph,” he said. “The driver was traveling well over the posted speed limit.”
The front seat of the vehicle was a bucket seat, which is designed to carry only a driver and one passenger.
“The three girls in the front seats were very small, so two girls were sitting in the same seat,” McDuffie said.
He added that he is continuing the investigation and is in the process of talking with the two survivors of the accident.
McDuffie said rumors have surfaced regarding the girls traveling Westville Avenue for the thrill received related to driving at a higher speed due to the design of the roadway.
“I can’t 100 percent say the girls were traveling that road for the thrill,” he said. “However, several rumors have surfaced with that comment, and I hope to have that confirmed either way, by speaking with the two surviving occupants.”
No date has been given for a complete investigation report to be released.
After the accident, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency encouraged parents to follow the Alabama Graduated Driver’s License Law, which only allows one non-family passenger in a vehicle when the driver is 16.