The crash that killed 10 people – including nine children – on Interstate 65 near Greenville in June occurred when a motor transport truck crashed into vehicles that were pulled to the roadway after a series of minor accidents, according to the preliminary report released by the National Transportation Safety Bureau.
The NTSB released preliminary findings on Tuesday.
The wreckage occurred around 2:30 p.m. on June 19, just south of Montgomery along Interstate 65 at kilometer 138.
Eight Alabama miners who were in a van owned by the Tallapoosa Girls Ranch died in the wreckage, along with a Tennessee man and his 9-month-old daughter who were traveling in an SUV.
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According to the preliminary report, a 2020 Volvo semi-trailer pulling a 2020 Cottrell automatic transporter was heading north on the right-hand lane of I-65 as it approached the bridge over Pigeon Creek.
Traffic, including the pickup truck Candice Gulley was driving and the SUV Cody Fox was in with his family, had stopped following a series of minor crashes. The NTSB reported that light rain was falling at the time of the crash and that a series of bands of rain had passed through the area during the day, which saw Tropical Storm Claudette pass through Alabama.
The transport truck struck a 2020 Ford Explorer, carrying the Fox family, then veered left, colliding with a Ford F350 van occupied by Gulley and eight children, including two of his own, two nephews and four daughters from the Tallapoosa Girls Ranch.
“After hitting the van (and other vehicles in line), [the truck] hit the left rail of the bridge and continued median past the north end of the bridge, coming to rest with part of its trailer on the roadway, ”the report said.
The Ford Explorer, after being struck by the transport truck, overturned and struck several other stationary cars.
Upon reaching the wreckage, a 2005 Freightliner semi-trailer veered left, struck and landed on top of the left bridge rail and struck the van before stopping in the median, the report said.
A fire then broke out among the vehicles, including the van.
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A total of 12 vehicles and 38 people were involved in the sinking, according to NTSB investigators. The driver of the transport truck was also injured in the accident.
The NTSB is still collecting data on the accident sequence, fires, weather conditions and amounts of precipitation at the time of the sinking.
The Alabama law enforcement agency is conducting a separate investigation into the wreckage. As of Tuesday, it was still unclear when this report could be completed and whether it would be made public once completed.
The victims of the shipwreck are:
- Cody Fox, 29 from South Pittsburg, Tenn.
- Ariana Fox, 9 months old, of South Pittsburg, Tenn.
- Isabella Gulley, 16, of Camp Hill, Alabama.
- Ben Gulley, 3, of Camp Hill, Alabama.
- Josiah Dunnavant, 12, of Theodore, Alabama.
- Nicholas Dunnavant, 8, of Theodore, Alabama.
- Tia, 14, who lived at the Tallapooosa County Girls Ranch
- Haley Logan, 15, of Tuscaloosa, who lived at Girls Ranch
- Makenzie Burdette, 16, of Shelby County, who lived at Girls Ranch
- Dana Norman, 17, of Madison County, who lived at Girls Ranch
Read the preliminary report here:
Contact Montgomery Advertiser reporter Kirsten Fiscus at 334-318-1798 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @KDFiscus