Traffic Fatality in Opelika

March 21, 2014

An early morning accident about 7:50 AM this morning on Interstate 85 in Opelika has claimed the life of a Lanett man. 32 year old Benjamin Rice was traveling south on the interstate when he apparently lost control of his 2004 Ford pickup, overturned and was ejected from the vehicle. He landed on South Long Street which runs below the interstate. Rice’s vehicle appears to be the only vehicle involved. Opelika Fire and East Alabama Medical Center EMS as well as Lifesaver helicopter responded to the scene. Rice’s injuries were too severe to be airlifted and he was rushed to East Alabama Medical Center via ambulance where he died from his injuries shortly after arrival at the emergency room. He was pronounced dead at 8:29 AM. He suffered multiple blunt force impact injuries. It is unknown at this time whether Rice was wearing his seatbelt. Family members stated he normally did wear a seatbelt. Alcohol is not suspected to be a factor. Rice was on his way to work at the Vet school at Auburn University when the accident happened. No postmortem exam is planned. The accident remains under investigation by the Opelika Police and the Lee County Coroner.