St. Petersburg Times Online: News of Florida
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather
  • Judge orders meeting on Earnhardt photos
  • Youth sent to prison unsettles lawmakers
  • Bush wants state to stop using arsenic in wood
  • Purchase approved for vast wildlife area
  • Manatees trump Miami marina plan
  • Proposal would make A's easier
  • New judge selection process favored
  • Florida's finances healthy, Bush says
  • Around the state
  • Earnhardt doctor: Let expert see photos

  • From the state wire

  • Hurricane Jeanne appears on track to hit Florida's east coast
  • Rumor mill working overtime after Florida hurricanes
  • Developments associated with Hurricanes Ivan and Jeanne
  • Four killed in Panhandle plane crash were on Ivan charity mission
  • Hurricane Frances caused estimated $4.4 billion in insured damage
  • Disabled want more handicapped-accessible voting machines
  • USF forces administrators to resign over test score changes
  • Man's death at Universal Studios ruled accidental
  • State child welfare workers in Miami fail to do background checks
  • Hurricane Jeanne heads toward southeast U.S. coast
  • Hurricane Jeanne spurs more anxiety for storm-weary Floridians
  • Mistrial declared in case where teen was target of racial "joke"
  • Panhandle utility wants sewer plant moved to higher ground
  • State employee arrested on theft, bribery charges
  • Homestead house fire kills four children, one adult
  • Pierson leader tries to cut off relief to local fern cutters
  • Florida's high court rules Terri's law unconstitutional
  • Jacksonville students punished for putting stripper pole in dorm
  • FEMA handling nearly 600,000 applications for help
  • Man who killed wife, niece, self also killed mother in 1971
  • Producer sues city over lead ball fired by Miami police
  • Tourism suffers across Florida after pummeling by hurricanes
  • Key dates in the life of Terri Schiavo
  • An excerpt from the unanimous ruling in the Schiavo case
  • Four confirmed dead after small plane crash in Panhandle
  • Correction: Disney-Cruise Line story

    printer version

    Earnhardt doctor: Let expert see photos

    Although against any sensationalism, he says an expert's examination could improve safety.


    © St. Petersburg Times, published March 14, 2001

    The first doctor to reach Dale Earnhardt after his fatal crash in the Daytona 500 endorsed on Tuesday allowing a qualified expert to examine autopsy photos to pinpoint the driver's cause of death.

    "If good is going to come from it where it's helpful for safety of other drivers in the future, then I'm all for it," said Dr. Alfred L. Alson, a trauma doctor in Flagler County who attended to Earnhardt moments after the wreck.

    "If it's just simply going to be for the purpose of sensationalism or people who want to make a name for themselves by opening their mouths about a subject that they may not know much about, then I don't take anything good from it."

    Alson, who has worked races at Daytona International Speedway since 1988, is the second doctor employed by the track to publicly support further examination of the photos.

    Dr. Steve Bohannon, director of emergency medical services at the track, told the Orlando Sentinel that permitting experts access to the photos might determine how the seven-time Winston Cup champion died.

    Earnhardt was killed when his race car hit the Turn 4 wall on the last lap of the Feb. 18 race. Debate about the type of injuries and chain of events that led to his death continues.

    Bohannon said in a news conference hours after the crash that Earnhardt likely died from a basal skull fracture, the injury that killed three NASCAR drivers last year.

    Five days later, NASCAR president Mike Helton, Winston Cup director Gary Nelson and Bohannon announced Earnhardt's left lap belt had broken. Bohannon then said the skull fracture may have been suffered when the driver's chin hit the steering wheel after his unrestrained body lurched forward and to the right.

    Alson said two paramedics already had disconnected the driver's seat belts, a standard procedure, by the time he reached the wrecked car. He was unable to see if the left lap belt had broken.

    "Any information that's gained is helpful to everybody in general, maybe even to some degree for use out in the street in real cars," Alson said. "I'd like to think that if someone dies that at least something was gained from it, not just simply the loss of the individual. It's much better to derive something from it."

    Back to State news
    Back to Top

    © 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
    490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
    Special Links
    Lucy Morgan

    From the Times state desk