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Driver Pulled From Alabama Crash Lost Own Kids, Nephews

Candice Gully is director of the Tallapoosa Girls Ranch
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 21, 2021 10:40 AM CDT

(Newser) – It was a jarring headline: 10 people killed in a Saturday afternoon car crash on I-65 in Alabama, eight of them tied to a home for abandoned, abused, and neglected children. Now, more details on the accident and the victims are emerging. It happened around 2:30pm in Butler County and involved 17 cars, seven of which caught on fire. That included the car that held a group from the Tallapoosa County Girls Ranch who were coming home from a Gulf Shores beach trip, reports AL.com. Four were girls who attended Reeltown High School. The other four were the son, daughter, and two nephews of Tallapoosa Director Candice Gully, said to have been the driver. Gully was in the van and apparently pulled unconscious from it by witnesses, but the others couldn't be reached, reports CNN. They ranged in age from 3 to 17. More:

  • Also killed were 29-year-old Cody Fox of Tennessee and his 9-month-old daughter, Ariana. The Montgomery Advertiser reports Fox's fiancee was also in the car and was hospitalized in the ICU as of Sunday.
  • The AP reports the wreck was blamed on conditions caused by Tropical Depression Claudette, with Butler County Coroner Wayne Garlock saying the accident location, which features a downhill curve, is "notorious" for hydroplaning.

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  • AL.com reports others from the ranch were in a separate van that was some distance away because they'd stopped for lunch. All were unharmed and didn't learn about the death until they got back to the ranch about 8pm following a five-hour highway shutdown. CNN reports the ranch is in Camp Hill, about 120 miles northeast of the crash site.
  • Alabama Sheriffs Youth Ranches CEO Michael Smith said he went to view the crash scene, noting that the damage was so severe he couldn't even identify the ranch van, reports Alabama News Network.
  • One girl in the second van spoke at a memorial event at Reeltown High School in Notasulga on Sunday. "When people hear about the ranch, they usually assume that the girls have done something wrong or bad to get there," she said. "But that's not the case. These girls have been through so much, and they were such strong, wonderful, kind family members." Those who live there include foster children and private placement children.
  • A GoFundMe campaign to raise money for Boys & Girls Ranches of Alabama, as well as for funeral, medical, and counseling costs for those involved, has raised more than $200,000.
(Read more car crash stories.)

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