Monday, June 16, 2008

Details emerge in collision that killed 3

Two cousins and a Santa Rosa County man were killed over the weekend in a two-vehicle accident.

Louvina Rutledge, 17, of Pace and her cousin, Michael Rutledge, 19, of Mobile were in a car that collided with a sport utility vehicle on Chumuckla Highway in Santa Rosa County.

The driver of the Ford SUV was Leonard Lail, 65.

The accident was reported at 5:10 p.m., just north of Mineral Springs Road.

Lail, a semi-retired brick mason, left his home in the New York community in Santa Rosa County to go the Piggly Wiggly in Flomaton, Ala., said Doyle Godwin, 45, Lail's stepson.

The SUV was headed north on Chumuckla Highway, and the Kia, driven by Louvina Rutledge, was heading south.

The Kia went off the road, and the driver overcorrected, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

The Kia then began to spin and went into the northbound lane, FHP said.

The driver of the Ford swerved in an attempt to avoid a collision, FHP said.

Godwin said he was fishing when he received a call from a friend about the accident.

He said he immediately went to get his mother, Peggy Lail, and they drove to the scene.

"It was pretty rough," Godwin said. "It was probably the worst accident I've ever seen."

Godwin said he and his mother left the crash scene after a state trooper asked him to take his mother home.

He said a trooper later came to his mother's home and confirmed his stepfather had died.

Leonard Lail, a deacon at New Bethel Baptist Church, leaves behind his wife, Peggy, two sons, two stepsons and a stepdaughter.

"They are all going to love and miss him," Godwin said.

The Rutledge family could not be reached for comment Sunday evening.

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