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Former principal charged in wreck has history of bad driving

Dothan WTVY logo Dothan WTVY 6/11/2021 Ken Curtis

DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) -A former school principal charged with recklessly causing a violent head-on collision then bolting from the scene received two speeding tickets in recent months. Both charged her with traveling 20 or more miles-per-hour-over the speed limit.

Records show an Alabama trooper issued Debra Johnson Strickland, who worked at Elba Elementary, recieved one citation on November 10, 2020, for driving 75 in a 55 zone. Another trooper, on January 28, cited her for driving 68 in a 45.

She pleaded guilty to both charges and paid more than $200 in fines and court costs on each count.

Strickland would receive more serious punishment if convicted of the Leaving the Scene of an Accident.

State investigators say, after causing the crash that hurt others, Strickland ran away on foot but was apprehended about a mile from the scene, near Samson, Alabama.

Strickland’s attorney, David Harrison, claims she suffered shock, did not comprehend what had occurred, and may have been seeking medical attention.

Assault charges would likely be filed if toxicology reports reveal Strickland drove under the influence when her Nissan Maxima crossed the center line of Alabama Highway 87 and struck an oncoming SUV on June 5.

The occupants—friends from Kentucky bound for Panama City Beach--suffered injuries, some serious. A family member of one said there will be long roads to recovery.

Strickland, who posted bond on Tuesday, resigned after being placed on administrative leave.

This story updated to reflect that Strickland resigned.

Copyright 2021 WTVY. All rights reserved.

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