BUTLER COUNTY (WKRG) – A multi-vehicle crash on Interstate 65 in Butler County has claimed the life of 10 people, including nine children.
Troopers within the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s (ALEA) Highway Patrol Division were notified at about 2:30 p.m. Saturday, June 19, of a multi-vehicle crash on I-65 northbound at the 138-mile marker. Once on scene, ALEA Troopers found 17 vehicles, including two commercial vehicles, were involved in the crash; seven of the 17 vehicles were on fire.
As a result of the crash, ALEA says Cody Fox, 29, of New Hope, Tenn., and his 9-month-old daughter, were killed. Butler County coroner Wayne Garlock said the father was pronounced dead at the scene. The girl was taken to a hospital where she was later pronounced dead. Garlock said she was properly restrained in a car seat, but said the impact was too powerful.
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 were from Alabama and were pronounced deceased at the scene. The children were in a vehicle from the Tallapoosa County Girls Ranch in Camp Hill, Garlock said.
The ranch posted the following messages to 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 ranch is part of the Alabama Sheriffs Youth Ranches, which care for the state’s abused, neglected, homeless and dependent children. The Tallapoosa County Girls Ranch was opened in 1973. The girls who live there attend school in Reeltown. Reeltown High School offered counseling and prayer support at 1 p.m. Sunday at its cafetorium.
The driver of the small ranch bus was pulled from the burning vehicle, Garlock said, but rescue personnel were unable to reach the girls in time.
ALEA is asking for the public’s help in gathering information and photos regarding the crash. Please send photos/videos related to the crash to email@example.com or share via social media: @aleaprotects
“Investigating fatal crashes is one of the most difficult responsibilities of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency,” ALEA’s Secretary of Law Enforcement Hal Taylor said. “Yesterday, was an extremely heartbreaking day for the state of Alabama as 10 lives were tragically lost in one horrific event. I would like to offer my sincerest condolences to the friends and families of loved ones lost in Saturday’s terrible crash, as well as my gratitude to all of the first responders and volunteers who quickly and valiantly responded to the scene. It was a difficult and unimaginable scene for many, and our thoughts and prayers are with all involved as we continue to investigate and provide closure for those affected.”
ALEA Troopers, along with investigators from the National Traffic Safety Board (NTSB), continue to investigate.