BY BRUCE BRANUM
On Saturday, June 19, on U.S. Interstate 65, at approximately mile marker 138, 10 people lost their lives in one combining incident.
Butler County Sheriff Danny Bond indicated through the Sheriff’s page on Facebook, the county had one of the most terrible traffic accidents and he believed the worst ever in the county.
He went on to add there were many injuries and even deaths and to please pray for the families of the ones involved and first responders, law enforcement, EMS, wrecker services, fire departments, ALDOT, hospital personnel, volunteers, chaplains and anyone that assisted.
Troopers within the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s (ALEA) Highway Patrol Division were notified at approximately 2:30 p.m.
As a result of the crash, both northbound and southbound I65 lanes were closed indefinitely and the majority of traffic was routed away from the accident scene on U.S. 31. Local traffic was urged to avoid U.S. 31, if at all possible.
As of 10 p.m. Saturday night, only one of the south bound lanes had been opened.
According to a press release by ALEA, “Once on scene, ALEA Troopers discovered a total of 17 vehicles, including two commercial vehicles, were involved in the crash; seven of the 17 vehicles were ablaze.
“As a result of the crash, Cody Fox, 29, of New Hope, Tenn., and his 9-month-old daughter, also of New Hope, Tenn., were pronounced deceased at the scene.
“Fatalities also include a 3-year-old, 8-year-old, 12-year-old, 14-year-old, 15-year-old, two 16-year-olds and a 17-year-old.
“All of the juveniles were from Alabama and were pronounced deceased at the scene.”
One of the vehicles involved was a passenger van from the Tallapoosa Girls Ranch.
The van was returning from Gulf Shores when it became involved in the multi-vehicle crash and the Girls Ranch lost eight loved ones.
The Girls Ranch posted on Facebook, “Our hearts are heavy today. Our ranch has suffered great loss. As some of you may have heard, one of our ranch vehicles was involved a multiple car accident this afternoon.
“Please send prayers our way as we navigate this difficult time. We will update information as we are able, and if you have any questions feel free to contact us. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers and respecting the privacy of our large and extended families.”
The other vehicle, a SUV, was driven by Cody Fox,
ALEA is also asking for the public’s assistance in gathering information and photos regarding the crash. They urge anyone with photos or videos related to the crash to submit those photos or videos to [email protected] or share via social media @aleaprotects.
ALEA concluded their press release with the following, “Nothing further is available as ALEA Troopers, along with investigators from the National Traffic Safety Board (NTSB), continue to investigate.”