1 dead after wreck at CR 437 and Smith Lake


CULLMAN COUNTY – One person died following a single-vehicle wreck on County Road 437 Thursday night. Cullman County Coroner Jeremy L. Kilpatrick said that Valetta Goddard Essary, 78, of Berry died at Cullman Regional from injuries sustained in the crash.

The incident occurred at approximately 7:30 p.m. at the end of CR 437 where the roadway meets Smith Lake. A witness told The Tribune that the vehicle went airborne over the barrier and went into the water.

Occupants of the vehicle were rescued from the water.

According to Alabama State Troopers, Essary was a backseat passenger in a 2010 Ford Explorer that left the roadway, struck an embankment and overturned. Essary, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was transported to Cullman Regional where she later died. The driver, Darrel E. Goddard, 79, also of Berry, was injured and transported to Cullman Regional. A front seat passenger was airlifted to UAB Hospital.

The Loretto Volunteer Fire Department responded to the scene, along with Cullman EMS, the Cullman County Sheriff's Office and State Troopers.

Troopers are handling the investigation.

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