Three dead in Valley crash during police chase

Published 9:59 am Friday, December 29, 2023

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A car chase that started in Lee County led to a crash in Valley that claimed the lives of three passengers and injured two others. Aron C. Haynes, 98, of Valley, and Regina G. Rutledge, 64, of Lanett, were critically injured when the 2005 Nissan Altima, Rutledge was driving and Haynes was a passenger in collided head-on with the 2018 Kia Forte driven by Wesley T. McKinnon, 20, of Troy, according to multiple press releases from Alabama Law Enforcement Agency.

It was announced that Rutledge had succumbed to her injuries sustained during the crash, a week after the accident, on Jan. 4 at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta.

Haynes was transported to East Alabama Medical Center-Lanier in Valley, where he later succumbed to injuries and was pronounced deceased. An 18-year-old juvenile, who was a passenger in the Forte, was also critically injured. The teen was transported to a local hospital, where the 18-year-old also succumbed to injuries and was pronounced deceased.

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McKinnon and the Altima driver, Regina G. Rutledge, 64, of Lanett were also both injured and transported to Piedmont Hospital in Columbus, Georgia, for medical treatment.

Before the crash occurred, McKinnon was attempting to elude law enforcement. The pursuit began on I-85 in Lee County when a Lee County deputy identified the vehicle McKinnon was driving as matching the license plate and description of a vehicle that was reported stolen at gunpoint in Union Springs. When McKinnon took exit 77, Valley police officers joined the pursuit.
The crash occurred on U.S. 29 near the 205-mile marker within the city limits of Valley in Chambers County.

According to a press release from ALEA, early Friday, McKinnon was released from Piedmont Hospital in Columbus, Ga. He was then arrested by ALEA Troopers and charged with two counts of Reckless Murder. McKinnon was booked in the Chambers County Jail to await a bond hearing. The investigation is still ongoing