Minister dies in crash

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 26, 2004

Selma Police are unsure of the cause of death for the Rev. J.T. Anderson, whose body was found trapped inside his silver Cadillac Thursday after the vehicle drove between two homes on Marie Foster Street and collided with a tree.

Witnesses say Anderson’s car was seen speeding down Minter Avenue and went out of control at the intersection of Minter and Marie Foster.

The vehicle went over a curb, knocking down a small tree and causing damage to the side of a house before slamming into a larger tree.

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“I was standing on the sidewalk talking to a friend when the car came speeding by really fast,” said Gloria Frison. “At first, I thought it was a police chase. The only thing that stopped that car was the tree. This has just devastated me.”

Speculation from witnesses and rescue workers at the scene was that Anderson, 90, may have suffered some sort of health problem while driving the car.

The accident happened shortly after 5 p.m. and police, the Selma Fire Department, and ambulances responded immediately to the scene.

Firefighters and rescue workers had to use a large saw to cut open the top of the vehicle because the car was wedged between the house and tree.

A large crowd had gathered at the site, located in a grassy area between 1513 and 1515 Marie Foster Street, as rescue workers removed the debris.

Many of the witnesses said they knew Anderson and described him as a beloved member of the community.

The Rev. F.D. Reese said Anderson was the pastor of a nearby church and had known him for many years.

Mayor James Perkins Jr., who also came to the scene to pay his respects to the family, described Anderson as “a pillar to this community. He was a rock.”

There was no passenger in the car and no one else was hurt during the incident.

Anderson and his wife lived on Vine Street, only a short distance from the crash.