Beasley Allen Law Firm has filed a lawsuit against the parties it deems responsible for the fiery June 19 crash that claimed the lives of 10 people, eight of whom were children. The 17-vehicle accident occurred in Butler County along I-65.
The suit, which names two trucking companies and a truck driver, was filed on behalf of the driver of the Tallapoosa County Girls Ranch van driver, who was seriously injured, and the families of the five children who perished in the van.
Greg Allen, Lead Products Liability lawyer at Beasley Allen Law Firm, claims the defendants displayed full disregard for human life.
“The defendants, in this case, were negligent and displayed a complete disregard for the lives of fellow travelers around them,” said Allen. “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.”
He continued, “This tragedy should never have happened. 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.”
On that fateful day, Gulley was driving the Tallapoosa Count Girls Ranch Van carrying eight children, including two of her own, from a vacation in Gulf Shores. The van was traveling northbound on I-65 alongside a 2020 Volvo truck-trailer owned and operated by Hansen & Adkins Auto Transport. The law firm says 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.
As the vehicles approached a bridge on I-65 over Pigeon Creek Road, traffic north of the bridge had slowed and stopped due to a series of minor crashes. Beasley Allen says the Hansen truck failed to stop and struck a 2020 Ford Explorer SUV before veering into the left lane and crashing into the Girls Ranch van. The van was hit by the Asmat 18-wheeler moments later. 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. All eight children died. Families of five of those children are suing the two trucking companies that they say caused the accident and partook in wrongful conduct.
Several local and state entities have sought to raise funds to support the families of the deceased.
Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL
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