Lawsuit filed against trucking companies involved in fatal I-65 crash

Published: Aug. 9, 2021 at 5:11 AM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - A lawsuit has been filed against two trucking companies and a driver involved in a multi-vehicle crash on Interstate 65 in Butler County.

Beasley Allen Law Firm filed the suit on behalf of the driver of a Tallapoosa County Girls Ranch van, who was seriously injured in the crash, and the families of five of the children who died in the crash.

“The defendants, in this case, were negligent and displayed a complete disregard for the lives of fellow travelers around them,” said Greg Allen, the Lead Products Liability lawyer at Beasley Allen Law Firm. “As a result, 10 people died that day, including eight children who were trapped in a van driven by our client Mrs. Candice L. Gulley. Those children burned to death needlessly. It is hard to imagine a more tragic and gut-wrenching set of circumstances, which demand justice and accountability to the fullest measure.”

Gulley was driving the Girls Ranch van carrying eight children, including two of her own, from a vacation in Gulf Shores. According to the law firm, the van traveled northbound on I-65 alongside a 2020 Volvo truck-trailer owned and operated by Hansen & Adkins Auto Transport. Both vehicles were driving in front of an 18-wheeler owned and operated by Asmat Investment LLC, doing business as Asmat Express and driven by Mamuye Ayane Takelu.

The law firm states the Hansen truck failed to stop and hit a 2020 Ford Explorer SUV before veering into the left lane and crashing into the van. Moments later, the van was hit by the Asmat 18-wheeler. The collisions caused a fire to break out, which engulfed the van, the 18-wheelers, and other vehicles. Bystanders pulled Mrs. Gulley from the wreckage. She then ran around the burning van, trying to help the children escape, but the fire and the significant damage from the crash made it impossible.

The crash happened around 2:30 p.m. on June 19 near mile marker 138, close to the Greenville exit. According to a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board, 12 vehicles and 38 people were involved. Nine juveniles and an adult were killed, and 26 others had varying injuries.

All eight children in the van died.

“This tragedy should never have happened,” says Allen. “We cannot erase or change the disastrous outcome, but we can work to provide answers that will allow a court to hold the defendants accountable for the lives they have devastated.”

The law firm states that families of five of those children are suing the two trucking companies that caused the accident and wrongful conduct. The actions caused the collision and resulting fire that resulted in the death of the eight children aboard the van.

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