Driver indicted, arrested in deadly 2020 Cullman crash

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The June 7, 2020 crash at the intersection of U.S. Highway 278 and State Road 157 left one dead and sent one to the hospital. (W.C. Mann for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Angelica Denise Ruffin, 38, of Huntsville, a driver involved in a deadly crash at the intersection of U.S. Highway 278 and State Road 157 on June 7, 2020, was arrested over the weekend and charged with reckless murder, reckless manslaughter, and first and second degree assault, according to a spokesman for the Cullman Police Department (CPD), following indictment by a Cullman County Grand Jury. Ruffin turned herself in at the Cullman County Detention Center on Sunday afternoon.

Randy Pope, 28, of Cullman was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash by the Cullman County Coroner’s Office. Tabatha Lynn Kilpatrick, a passenger riding with Ruffin, was taken by ambulance to Cullman Regional.

According to the Code of Alabama, a person commits reckless murder if “Under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to human life, he or she recklessly engages in conduct which creates a grave risk of death to a person other than himself or herself, and thereby causes the death of another person.” The charge is a class A felony and could lead to a sentence of 10 years to life if the accused is found guilty.

A jury could convict on the lesser charge of reckless manslaughter, a class B felony which carries a 2-20 year sentence. 

CPD Traffic Homicide Sgt. Joey Duncan told The Tribune, “Once the Cullman Police Department Traffic Homicide Unit completed its investigation into the fatal crash, it was turned over to the Cullman County District Attorney’s Office. Then it was brought in front of a Grand Jury, and warrants were issued for those listed charges.”

Pope’s family filed a wrongful death suit against Ruffin, and Kilpatrick filed a personal injury suit claiming that Ruffin was “impaired and/or distracted,” “operating her vehicle at a high rate of speed” and “intoxicated” at the time of the crash.

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W.C. Mann

craig@cullmantribune.com