Alabama man, seated in secured wheelchair inside minivan, dies in crash on I-81

Cooper Fatal-2

PULASKI CO. (WSLS 10) – An Alabama man died during a crash on Interstate 81 near mile-marker 93 in Pulaski County Tuesday.

Virginia State Police said the crash that happened at 4:17 p.m. in the southbound lane near mile-marker 93.3.

Officers said a 2015 Dodge Caravan driven by Milton Bell of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, was going southbound on I-81 when it went off the left side of the road and hit the guardrail.

Bell tried to regain control of the vehicle but over-corrected and lost control of the van. It ran off the left side of the highway a second time and hit the guardrail again, causing the vehicle to overturn at least once before landing t in the middle of the road.

The driver’s father-in-law, 80-year-old Charles Cooper, Jr. of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, was killed in the crash. Cooper was in a secured wheelchair and was wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Cooper-Fatal-1Bell had minor injuries and was taken to the Pulaski Community Hospital, where he was treated and released. He was wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.

Cooper’s adult daughter, 61-year-old Carolyn Cooper-Bell of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, was in the right front passenger seat of the minivan. She was also wearing a sea tbelt and had minor injuries. She was taken to the Pulaski Community Hospital where she was treated and released.

Cooper’s grandson, 29-year-old Aaron Bell of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, was in the left rear passenger seat of the minivan. He had minor injuries and was transported to the Pulaski Community Hospital where he was treated and released. He was wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.

Trooper Brandon Barnett of the Virginia State Police said his initial investigation of the crash revealed that the driver, Milton Bell, fell asleep before losing control of the vehicle. Bell was charged with reckless driving.

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