Soldier dies in motorcycle crash

tstevens@ledger-enquirer.comAugust 29, 2013 

A soldier assigned to the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Benning died in a wreck on Highway 165 Thursday morning after a motorcycle collided with a truck, authorities said.

The name of the soldier wasn't released because next of kin hadn't been notified. The soldier was on a motorcycle mentor safety program ride when the wreck with a tractor trailer occurred, said Monica Manganaro, the deputy public affairs officer at Fort Benning.

A spokesman for the brigade said soldiers had been safe for 412 days without a fatal traffic accident until the motorcycle crash.

Robyn Litchfield, a public information officer with the Alabama Department of Public Safety, said the collision happened near the gate at Meadwestvaco in the unincorporated town of Cottonton, Ala.

Further details of the wreck that occurred at 10:18 a.m. weren't available. Russell County Coroner Arthur Sumbry Jr. didn't return calls seeking information on the cause of death.

Manganaro said the motorcycle program is there on post to re-emphasize safety measures before soldiers get on a bike. Some units in the past have taken their safety rides right before long holiday weekends.

Robert Topolewski, safety and occupational health specialist for the 3rd Brigade, told the Ledger-Enquirer last

month that the brigade has more than 300 motorcycle riders but 231 have officially signed up for the mentorship program.

Under the program, soldiers get their motorcycles inspected and they go through training courses.

The crash remained under investigation by Alabama State Troopers.

Thursday's accident was the second fatal wreck in East Alabama since Wednesday.

Wileatha Brown, a 40-year-old science teacher at Russell County High School, died after the 2008 Suzuki Forenza she was driving collided with a tractor trailer truck on U.S. 431 and Ala. Highway 169.

Brown, an educator from Tuskegee, Ala., was in her first year at the high school.

-- Staff writer Ben Wright contributed to this report.

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