One vehicle accident claims two lives

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 28, 2004

An unexplained accident on Saturday morning in Luverne claimed to Brantley residents' lives, and the Luverne Police Department is not sure exactly what caused the car to leave the road.

"On the morning of Saturday, July 17, Mr. and Mrs. Gaston Carnes of Brantley were in Luverne shopping," said Luverne Police Chief Bob Davis. "They shopped at the Farmers Market on Montgomery Highway, then went to the Dollar General. They were last seen alive at Foster's Drugs, where Mrs. Carnes had a prescription filled, and then at approximately 8:56 a.m., the 1990 Buick LeSabre Mrs. Carnes was driving south on U.S. Highway 331 left the roadway near Richburg Hill Road, overturned, and landed upside down in approximately five feet of water."

Davis said the vehicle went across four lanes and skirted the grassy shoulder before something caused it to flip tail-over-head and land in a drainage ravine.

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"We are still investigating this case, and trying to determine the cause of the accident, which did not involve any other vehicles," Davis said. "Police officers, and members of the Luverne Fire Department and Luverne Rescue Squad responded immediately, but there was nothing that could be done for the victims."

Davis said firefighters had to get into the water and dive to get the pair out of the car.

"It appears that both Kathleen Taylor Carnes, 84, and Gaston M. Carnes, 86, were both dead at the scene," he said. "The Rescue Squad took both of them to Crenshaw Community Hospital, where they were pronounced dead on arrival in the emergency department."

During the time of the accident, the area had received a large amount of rain in a short period of time, but Davis said he did not know if weather contributed to the accident or not.

"To the best of my knowledge, neither of the two were wearing seat belts," Davis said. "It does not appear that there were any skid marks on the road whatsoever, and we have seen no evidence that the brakes of the vehicle were ever applied."

Davis said it had not been confirmed whether either of the victims had drowned in the accident.

"It may very well be that there was something terrible happening inside the vehicle," Davis said. "It could have been a medical emergency involving one of the couple, but we don't know for sure. It would appear that they both died as a direct result of the accident, as the car was in fact submerged, upside down, with all four wheels in the air in nearly five feet of water."

An obituary for Mr. and Mrs. Gaston M. Carnes appears on page two of this publication.