Family Questions Police Response To A Deadly Accident

A gruesome discovery along an east Alabama highway last week has family members asking why it took several days to find their loved one.  Now the victim's fiancée wants answers on why it took so long for police to respond.

Derreck Smith left home Friday, November 17th and never returned.  A trucker driving along highway 165 made the gruesome discovery three days later and called police.  But someone else made the same discovery Saturday afternoon while walking and ran to nearby restaurant to call for help.  "The person came in upset and told us that someone is in a ditch.  She also told us the back window was broken out of the vehicle," said Lugenia Upshaw, Meats Barbeque.

The woman then called police and waited looking out the window of the restaurant for police to arrive.  The employees say while waiting they did not see an officer drive by.  In a statement Assistant Police Chief Ray Smith says, "We did receive a call from Russell County Sheriff's dispatcher around 4:15 Saturday evening.  Our dispatcher then sent a police officer out to look for a truck that had ran off into a ravine, but the officer did not find anything," said Smith.

However, days later police made the discovery after a second call was made to police.  "The thought of him being in the truck 2 days, puzzles me even though he is gone," said Gina Reed, Victim's Fiancée.

Family members want answers why the officer sent out didn't go to the restaurant where the call was made and how long was spent looking for the accident.  "That's all I want to know is why it took 2 days," said Reed.

News Leader 9 asked Phenix City Police how long the officer searched for the accident, but they aren't releasing anything, saying the investigation is ongoing.  Family members are still trying to find the woman who made the discovery Saturday evening.  For now the family calls her their guardian angel.