Christmas Day Wreck

Dothan Police are considering that the victim of a Christmas Day traffic accident could have been shot by someone before wrecking his van off of Ross Clark Circle.

Around 7-o'clock in the evening on Christmas Day, the Dothan Police Department received a call reporting the traffic accident.

Dothan Police Captain Nick Monday said, "Apparently a van had run off the road in a single vehicle accident and had caught fire."

Authorities say the driver, 41-year-old Gene Nichols, had been arrested in July for cocaine possession.

The day of the car accident, he was driving East on Ross Clark Circle when his vehicle suddenly swerved across the median and into the ditch at the Saint Mark Street intersection.

Monday says "he was pulled from the van; they discovered he had a gunshot wound to the back of the head and we have no witness who can tell us what happened."

He was pronounced dead minutes later at Southeast Alabama Medical Center.

And since no one can determine where the gunshot wound came from, his death is being investigated as a homicide.

Right now, the investigators assigned to this are interviewing anyone who had contact with Mr. Nichols. They’ve talked to his family, talked to the witnesses--talked to some witnesses more than once. There are a lot of unanswered questions and they're tracking all of those leads down.

Authorities have had an autopsy performed and are waiting for results.

Right now, there is no suspect in the case. Witnesses have told investigators that Mr. Nichols was in the van alone.

Authorities do not yet know if his gunshot wound had anything to do with the accident or his cocaine arrest.

Anyone with information in the death of Gene Nichols should call Crime Stoppers at 793-7000 or the Dothan Police Department at 615-3000.