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Insurance company call surprises minivan owner

Photo by Avan Clark

Photo by Avan Clark

ALBANY, Ga. -- Douglasville's Al Crutchfield said he got a call from his insurance company's representative Wednesday about a hit-and-run, a possible road-rage incident in Albany.

Considering he lives about 200 miles north, he was more than a little taken aback.

"An insurance adjuster called me to tell me my ex-wife put in a claim for damages to her white Ford Freestar minivan," Crutchfield said. "Then he read me your Albany road-rage story."

A May 15 story in The Albany Herald told about a victim of a hit-and-run crash describing the vehicle that hit his SUV as a white minivan.

As part of a divorce settlement, Crutchfield gave a white minivan to his ex-wife, Julie Lawson. He continues to make payments, pay for the insurance and have the van in his name, he said.

Crutchfield is certain the white minivan is the one that sideswiped a 1999 Honda Passport SUV May 14 on North Slappey Boulevard.

Lawson returned the third call from The Albany Herald to a number supplied by Crutchfield. She said, "I have nothing to say to you." She did, however, confirm the minivan was part of a divorce settlement.

Asked about the allegations that her minivan was in the crash last Friday, she said, "I have nothing to say to you."

Asking if she was contacted by Albany police garnered the same reply.

Crash survivor Craig Youngblood, 29, narrowly escaped injury as his Honda flipped upside down during the hit-and-run incident in front of Ford Town on North Slappey Boulevard.

Probably totaled, the SUV sustained heavy damage to its front and rear fenders, its roof and windows.

"The driver of that minivan honked at me back at the light. I guess I wasn't going fast enough," Youngblood said after the crash. "He pulled up right beside me and was cussing at me. The he sideswiped me and took off. I don't know where he went. I was upside down."

Crutchfield supplied the Leesburg address of his ex-wife and her husband, Darwin Lawson. A trip to the Creekwood Apartments turned up a white Ford Freestar van Crutchfield identified as his wife's from e-mailed photos of the license plates.

The van had damage to its driver's side rear. Neighbors said that Albany police had been seen in the area a day or two ago.

After viewing the photos of the van, APD spokeswoman Phyllis Banks said she believed it was the van involved in the hit-and-run accident. She could not verify an arrest in the incident Friday.