Conditions upgraded for Riverdale students

By Greg Gelpi

The conditions of three of the Riverdale High School students involved in Sunday's fatal vehicle accident have improved.

Brad Fisher, a spokesman for DCH Regional Medical Center in Tuscaloosa, Ala., said that Noel Johnson, 17, and Angel Garza, 14, were upgraded to fair condition and that Emanuel Conde, 17, was released. All three had been listed in serious condition Monday.

The students were involved in a single-car accident Sunday, and Franklin Davon Johnson, who drove the 2001 Jimmy GMC, died the same day.

"I just feel bad because any death is not good," said Aaron Arnold, a freshman at Riverdale High.

Arnold learned about the accident from a school announcement and said he doesn't know any of the students who were in the accident, but said he has been praying for them and their families.

"I'm worried about driving now," Arnold said. "It's weird. They were here not too long ago."

The high school students were called "outsiders" by their classmates.

"Most of the people didn't really know (Franklin Johnson)," Riverdale High junior Bylencia Williams, 16, said. "I know that some who really did know him were crying."

Williams said she knew Noel Johnson, but not well, saying he is quiet and "didn't like to talk a lot."

Alabama State Trooper Chris Ellis said that the accident is still under investigation, but is considered a standard traffic accident.

The four high school students were wearing their seatbelts when the car they were in left the road and overturned, Ellis said. He wasn't sure who owned the car or if Franklin Johnson had a driver's license.