LOXLEY, Ala. — An Alabama man involved in a fatal automobile accident was wrongly released from jail less than two weeks before the crash, and authorities are trying to determine how the mistake happened, a prosecutor said.
Baldwin County District Attorney Robert Wilters told WALA-TV (http://bit.ly/2pFM3Ie ) that Alec Dvorak, 22, was supposed to be in custody at the time of the crash that killed Sarah Echols, 49, of Bay Minette on Monday.
Records show Dvorak has been in and out of jail since 2013 for theft and other convictions, and Wilters said he was supposed to be serving a year for a probation violation.
But Dvorak was somehow mistakenly released from the jail in Escambia County, Florida, rather than being transferred to an Alabama prison.
“This is a tragedy that should not have happened,” said Wilters.
No one is charged in the wreck that killed Echols, whose funeral was scheduled for Friday, and Dvorak was hospitalized. Echols’ vehicle collided with a jeep driven by Dvorak, who investigators said crossed into a turning lane right before impact.
Authorities are investigating Dvorak’s release, but the mistake shocked members of Echols’ family.
“I lost my niece because of the law not keeping up on him? I mean, it’s unreal, it’s unreal,” said Echols’ aunt, Terri Gibbons.
Wilters said Dvorak pleaded guilty to receiving stolen property in Baldwin County and received a one-year prison sentence. He was supposed to serve three years on probation afterward. He was released early from the Florida jail, where he had been transferred because of another case.
“Something happened and he didn’t begin serving that sentence, and that’s wrong. We’re looking into what happened, or what didn’t happen, and trying to find out can we fix this so it doesn’t happen again,” said Wilters.
Information from: WALA-TV, http://www.fox10tv.com/