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Tropical storm Claudette walked across the United States: 13 people died, including 10 children

Eight children traveling in a van from an abused or unattended child home died in a multi-vehicle fire accident on the interstate. As a result of the same accident, a man and his child were killed in another car. The cause of the accident was tropical storm Claudette, which claimed the lives of at least 13 people. Writes about it Yahoo!.

Photo: Shutterstock

The crash occurred on Saturday, June 19, about 35 miles (55 km) south of Montgomery on Highway 65 after cars likely slipped on a wet road, according to Butler County Coroner Wayne Garlock.

The van, with children ages 4 to 17, belonged to the Tallupus County Maiden Ranch, a youth home run by the Alabama Sheriffs Association. Michael Smith, CEO of the youth ranch, said the van was returning to the ranch near Camp Hill, northeast of Montgomery, after a week at the beach in Gulf Shores. It caught fire after the crash, and Candice Gully, the ranch director, was the only survivor. She was pulled out of the fire by a stranger.

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Galli is in a hospital in a serious but stable condition. “She will survive her physical trauma,” Smith said. According to Smith, two of those killed in the van were Gally's children, aged 4 and 16. Four others were ranchers and two were guests.

“This is the worst tragedy I've seen in my life,” Smith said.

“Words cannot express what I saw,” Smith said. "We love these girls as we love our own children."

The accident also claimed the lives of two other people, who were traveling in a separate vehicle. Garlock identified them as 29-year-old Cody Fox and his 9-month-old daughter Ariana from Marion County, Tennessee.

“He was a great guy and we really will miss him,” said Aaron Sanders, who worked with Fox at the Marion County emergency agency. He said that Fox ran a hot tub business with his father and loved his daughter dearly.

“He just loved her to death, she was the meaning of his life,” he said.

Several people were also injured.

The National Transportation Safety Board tweeted that it sent 10 investigators to the area on Sunday to investigate the accident, and photographs of the scene show at least four burned-out vehicles, including two large trucks.

Other victims of the storm were a 24-year-old man and a 3-year-old boy. They were killed by a tree that fell on their home near the Tuscaloosa city limits, said Captain Jack Kennedy of the Tuscaloosa Crime Department.

Makayla Ross, a 23-year-old woman from Fort Payne, died Saturday, June 19, after her car drove off the road into an overflowing river, DeCalb County Deputy Coroner Chris Tucker said.

Because of Claudette, 30 centimeters of rain fell on the Gulf Coast.

The search is also under way for a person who allegedly fell into the water during the floods in Birmingham.

Garlock said the crash site of several vehicles is "notorious" for flooding as the highway heading north descends the hill towards a small stream. Traffic on this section of I-65 is usually packed with vacationers traveling to and from the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico on summer weekends.

“Butler County has had one of the worst road accidents,” County Sheriff Danny Bond wrote on Facebook.

The GoFundMe page was created for the Tallupus County Girls Ranch to help offset funeral costs, medical expenses for injured people, and counseling for victims.

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Gally has worked with the children for many years, starting when she and her husband were home parents on the ranch for seven years.

“Over the years, 74 girls have walked through our house and called us Mom and Dad,” she said in an August 2019 interview. She said she was also a helping parent before becoming a ranch director.

“My heart sympathizes with the loved ones of all the victims,” Alabama Governor Kay Ivey said in a statement.

Screenshot: NHC

Claudette's Tropical Depression began to recuperate late Sunday night, June 20, and regained storm status on Monday June 21. The storm was over the eastern part of North Carolina, and had already entered the Atlantic Ocean.

Aside from rainy weather, North Carolina was uneventful.

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