Nine Children, One Adult Killed After Horrific 15 Vehicle Pile-Up During Tropical Storm
Nine children and one adult were killed on Interstate 65 in Butler County, Alabama, after a horrific crash involving multiple vehicles.
According to Butler County Coroner Wayne Garlock, nine children and one adult were killed in a collision involving multiple vehicles on Saturday, June 19, on Interstate 65 in Butler County. Eight of the children who were killed ranged from the ages of four to 17 and were in a vehicle from Tallapoosa County Girls Ranch.
Tallapoosa County Girls Ranch provides support and a home for abused and neglected schoolchildren.
Additionally, a 29-year-old father and his 9-month-old daughter travelling in another vehicle were killed in the incident.
The crash has been attributed to a tropical storm known as Storm Claudette, that led to heavy downpours on the road. A CNN reporter Lacey Willis was at the scene, returning from a family vacation in Florida, and discussed her experience of the incident.
Willis explained she felt an impact on the car and was sent into the grass on the median. As a result, her husband told her to get in the back and get her daughter out of the car. Once she had done this, she walked away from the crash site and Willis noticed some cars involved were on fire.
Willis’s husband managed to pull a man, a woman and their two kids out of a flipped truck while others attempted to get hold of emergency services. Unfortunately, there was confusion about where exactly the incident happened.
Speaking about the accident, Willis said she was ‘very grateful’ that her family could ‘escape’ although she noted ‘there’s a little guilt aspect.’
The CNN reporter concluded:
Those families’ lives are changed forever, and I hope that somehow people will find a way to be OK because this was tragic for a lot of people. We are very, very fortunate.
The driver of the small girls ranch vehicle was saved from the burning vehicle, but the rescue services were unable to reach the eight girls who passed away in the vehicle. The survivor was the Tallapoosa County Girls Ranch director, her two daughters were reportedly killed in the crash.
Michael Smith, the CEO of the Alabama Sheriffs Youth Ranches, has visited the director in the hospital where she is in a stable but critical condition. When Smith, told the director that she was visiting the ranch she said, ‘Please tell my girls I love them.’
Discussing the incident, Smith said:
We lost eight young people that can make a difference in our world, we lost eight young people that didn’t have a chance to have their own children, we lost eight young people that can’t break the cycle of where they’ve been and change it for their children. That’s a sad day.
The nonprofit organisation that Smith and the driver represent relies primarily on donations and has set up a GoFundMe to assist with funeral expenses, medical costs and counselling.
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