ALABAMA (AP) — Tropical Depression Claudette claimed 12 lives in Alabama as the storm swept across the southeastern U.S., causing flash flooding and spurring tornadoes that destroyed dozens of homes.
Ten people, including nine children, were killed Saturday in a fiery multi-vehicle crash about 35 miles (55 kilometers) south of Montgomery on Interstate 65, according to Butler County Coroner Wayne Garlock.
He said the vehicles likely hydroplaned on wet roads, with eight children, ages 4 to 17, killed in a van belonging to a youth ranch for abused or neglected children operated by the Alabama Sheriffs Association. Two people died in separate vehicle, Garlock told local news outlets — 29-year-old Cody Fox and his 9-month-old daughter, Ariana, both of Marion County, Tennessee.
“He was a great guy and we’re really gonna miss him,” said Aaron Sanders, who worked with Fox at the emergency management agency in Marion County. He said Fox also ran a hot tub business with his father and doted on his daughter. “He just loved her to death and that was his life.”
Multiple people were also injured.
The National Transportation Safety Board tweeted that it was sending 10 investigators to the area Sunday to investigate the crash, which photos showed included at least four burned vehicles, including two large trucks. It said the inquiry would focus on vehicle technologies such as forward collision warning systems, fuel tank integrity and occupant survivability.