Nine children and a Tennessee emergency worker have perished in a fiery crash on Interstate 65 in Butler County, Alabama early Saturday.
The adult victim was identified as Cody Fox, 29, the New Hope Volunteer Fire Department and plant operation manager at Tennessee Tub Factory.
Among the dead was Fox’s 9-month-old daughter Ariana. The eight other victims were inside a Tallapoosa County Girls Ranch van, headed back to the facility after a beach trip.
A witness said that he helped the bus’ driver Candice Gulley out of the wreckage but could do nothing for the juveniles trapped as fire erupted.
“It was too late to get back to them because the bus was engulfed in fire,” police said.
The victims were aged from 4-17 years old and were in the care of the state. The bus’ driver’s two daughters were also killed in the crash.
“All of the families have been notified,” CEO of Alabama Sheriff’s Youth Ranches said. “We’re certainly in a grieving process.”
“I’ve never seen a tragedy or heard of a tragedy like this in my entire life. We have grief counseling. We have pastors meeting with all of our ranches and we’re trying to help them. They’ve been traumatized once again in their lives by losing their family. On this ranch, this is their family. They have lost a big portion of their family.”