JACKSON COUNTY, Ala. - We're learning more about the 82-year-old victim who died after his vehicle was swept into floodwaters in Buck’s Pocket State Park on February 5th.
Family and friends of Raymond Edwards tell WHNT News 19 he was probably out joy riding when the unfortunate event unfolded.
Winola Barnes has lived next door to Raymond Edwards for five years. She says to know Ray is to love Ray. "A real friend, a true friend,” said Barnes.
Barnes says Edwards would often sit on his front porch and read. "He read and he had his radio in his window on the porch. he'd listen to his radio and read."
His family and friends say he was a history buff who enjoyed driving around and exploring the area.
"He could just read so long, I guess. He said ‘I just get so bored I just get out and ride.’ So he would just ride for miles and miles. But he always came home a little before five,” said Barnes.
Barnes says when Raymond Edwards didn't come home on February 5th-- she and other neighbors grew concerned.
"As soon as I heard he was missing and heard of the Buck’s Pocket, I knew that was him,” said Barnes.
She describes him as a private person. A helper who didn't do things for recognition but out of the kindness of his heart. Someone who will be greatly missed.
"And if he saw something that needed fixing he would tell me about it, but then most of the time he would just get his ladder and go fix it,” said Barnes.
Fixing things was one of his many specialties. Rays family tells me he's a retired mechanic from Delta Airlines.
"Very talented, very intelligent. just a precious, precious neighbor,” said Barnes.
Barnes says she is still trying to make sense of the tragedy that took Edwards life and why he would have driven over a flooded bridge. "I know he's too smart to have taken a chance but uh, for some reason... he must have…” said Barnes.
The family says they are doing their best to embrace and honor his memory and not focus on why he was in Bucks’ Pocket at that moment.
The Jackson County and Dekalb County Commissions are working with State Park Officials to have barricades in place that close the bridge when it floods.