GULF SHORES, Ala. (WKRG) A beach vacation, something kids at all four Alabama sheriff’s youth ranches have the chance to do every year.
This particular group of girls had just recently been in Gulf Shores and had been here for their summer vacation,” says Baldwin County Sheriff Hoss Mack.
Who could have known the tragedy that would unfold as they headed home? “I had heard about the wreck but I had no idea it involved those precious angels.” Patty Etheridge works in U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville’s office. She met the girls at a Bar-B-Q last week at the Summerdale ranch. “You can see they’re loved. They were funny. They were loving. Miss Patty, Miss Patty, so polite. Just precious children, precious children.”
Flags are now at half staff at the ranch which had a personal connection with the driver pulled from the wreckage according to Sheriff Mack. “One of our ranch workers who had been working at our ranch for a number of years, in fact, had been at the Baldwin County ranch for the last couple of months helping to train some of our new staff there.”
Mack sits on the board of directors for the youth ranch and says the organization is banding together to get through this awful tragedy. “We can’t control the why. We can control the “do” and the “do” is to keep praying for these kids and pray for this entire system.”
The chain-reaction crash involved 17 vehicles and is believed to have started by a vehicle hydroplaning. The National Transportation Safety Board has joined the investigation.
In the meantime, a Gofundme account, https://gofund.me/03653b87 has been set up to help with funeral expenses and medical costs.