Wife of former Alabama GOP chairman Bill Armistead hit by car, killed

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(AL.com) — The wife of former Alabama GOP Chairman Bill Armistead was killed in a traffic accident Thursday morning.

Emily and Bill Armistead (Facebook)

Armistead made the announcement on Facebook late Thursday night, saying he had lost the love of his life. He and his wife, Emily, were preparing to celebrate their 49th wedding anniversary.

Linden Police Chief Robert Alston said the crash happened about 10:45 a.m. Thursday on Highway 43. The 60-year-old Emily Armistead was was walking a few steps ahead of her husband when she was struck by a southbound Hyundai Sonata driven by a 17-year-old girl. The chief said the teen was distracted by something and looking down. When she looked up, they believe she may have panicked and accelerated.

Also said police took the teen driver to a doctor's office to have blood drawn and that sample has been sent off for toxicology evaluation.

Emily Armistead was taken to Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital in Demopolis, where she was pronounced dead.

The Armisteads were attending the funeral of 93-year-old Paul Owensby - the longtime, retired owner of Papa's Grocery Store in Linden and a WWII veteran.

The Armisteads live in Columbiana. Bill Armistead was elected chairman of the Alabama Republican Party in 2011. He stepped down in 2015.

Bill Armistead worked for former Gov. Guy Hunt from 1988 through 1993 as his chief economic advisor. He was elected to the Alabama Senate in 1994, and re-elected in 1998. In 2002, he ran for lieutenant governor but lost to Democrat Lucy Baxley.

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