Two seriously injured in runway accident

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 19, 2004

Two Luverne men remain hospitalized after being critically injured Saturday night following a head-on collision that occurred on the runway at Luverne Municipal Airport.

Andrew Coggins, 21, and Joshua Coggins, 24, were transported along with passenger Noland Beasley, 23, to Crenshaw Community Hospital after the 2003 Chevrolet truck driven by Andrew Coggins collided with the 2003 Jeep Wrangler driven by Joshua Coggins, which was occupied by Beasley, at a high rate of speed.

"The accident is still under investigation mainly due to the injuries of the victims," Luverne Police Chief Bob Davis said. "There are still questions as to the outcome of their injuries. We have to keep the case open pending the outcome of what happens at the hospital in regards to the accident victims. We're also trying to get with witnesses in hopes of tying up the loose ends with regards to everybody who were involved or may know something that may help us with our investigation."

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Davis said one victim was later transported to a Birmingham Hospital and the other to a Montgomery Hospital, where they both remain. Andrew Coggins was treated and released from CCH.

"One I think is in critical condition, the other I believe is in serious condition," Davis said.

The LPD and the Luverne Fire and Rescue Department responded to the scene of the accident. Davis said from the department's investigations, it has come to the conclusion that one vehicle was heading in one direction and the other vehicle was traveling in the other. When the two approached each other, one vehicle veered off the runway into the grass, as did the other vehicle, which turned into the other vehicle and collided. The two vehicles collided and the Jeep overturned one and half times.

There is a sign in front of the gate to enter the airport property that states "No unauthorized vehicles or person beyond this point," but no locks are on the gate to the facility.

"They went in and evidently there was an individual already there, who I imagine they met up with," Davis said.

Davis said he doesn't know if any charges will be filed.

"Everything is pending right now, that's why is so important to get all witnesses, get all the evidence and make judgments form there," Davis said. "We're really waiting on the recovery of the people involved because we want to talk to them as well. It's important for us to get everything together before we precede any further. I want to talk with everybody involved because right now it's not clear."

Davis said there were indications that the men were drinking.