A pile-up on Interstate 65 in Alabama has killed as many as 10 people, with reports saying as many as 9 of them were children.
The wreck happened at approximately 2:30 p.m. on Saturday and involved about 18 cars. Road conditions at the time were worsened by Tropical Storm Claudette. One of the vehicles involved in the accident was a 15-passenger van for the Alabama Sheriffs Youth Ranches, a nonprofit organization that helps "Alabama's needy, neglected, or abused, school-aged children," according to its website.
Victims of the accident include a 9-month-old girl, her father, and 8 children between the ages of 4 to 17. Reports indicate the deceased father and daughter were in a vehicle that wasn’t the large van. Other occupants of this vehicle did not sustain serious injuries.
The van was associated with the organization’s Tallapoosa County ranch. The location focuses on housing young girls who’ve suffered from abuse, neglect, or homelessness. It’s supported by the sheriffs of Lee, Chambers, and Tallapoosa counties.
"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 in a multiple car accident this afternoon," Tallapoosa County Girls Ranch said in a Facebook post. "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."
What Caused the Deadly I-65 Wreck
Investigators are currently working to determine the cause of the pile-up, which happened on a downhill stretch of I-65 between Greenville and Fort Deposit.
"It was horrendous. I've never seen anything like it in my whole life," Michael Smith, chief executive of the organization, said to Reuters.
About five other people sustained non-life-threatening injuries. According to Butler County Sheriff Danny Bond, the accident is the worst in the county's history. He also revealed that officials are looking into if conditions caused cars to hydroplane, triggering the accident.
The Alabama multi-vehicle crash occurred only four months after another tragic accident shocked the nation. Last February, 6 people were killed and 36 were injured during a pile-up involving nearly 130 vehicles on Interstate 35W in Fort Worth. It was triggered by iced-over roads created by severe winter storms.
We’ll continue to follow updates about this wreck as they're released.