PERDIDO BEACH, Ala. (WKRG) — State Troopers have identified Keith Chapman as the driver of a Dodge Charger witnesses claim was passing a line of cars when it collided head-on with a mini-van driven by mail carrier David Bethea.
Bethea, 42, of Seminold, died on the scene. Chapman, 34, of Foley, died later at an area hospital.
The wreckage is gone on U.S. Highway 98 from a head-on collision that took the life of two people Tuesday near Deer Acres Lane between Elberta and Lillian. Left now are only the scars and the grief.
“We knew it was something serious,” said Miles Bobe who has a garage near the accident site, “and when they start blocking the road we know it was pretty bad.”
Bethea was just starting his route when the collision happened. The roadway was shut down for hours but slowly the news began to spread.
“It was later in the day when it was confirmed that unfortunately it was David and I knew he was our mailman in our community where we live,” Bobe said.
That community is Perdido Beach. Bethea hadn’t been a mail carrier very long but he had already left a big impression.
“This man delivered on Sunday to bring boxes that he couldn’t fit in his van,” according to Tom Bloxham, who said Bethea was a frequent poster on the town’s social media page.
“Every day on our little towns page, I’m coming with packages,” Bobe said. “He would post it’s going to be a two or three route day and he would be out till ten o’clock or he would say I’m coming after church to make a package run.”
“He tried to make everybody happy,” added Bloxham, “and I think he made those that could be happy in town, happy. There’s always a few.”
Folks in Perdido Beach are now collecting financial donations at Town Hall to help Bethea’s wife and son.