Lawsuit filed in accident that killed eight children from Tallapoosa Girls Ranch

Published 1:00 am Monday, August 9, 2021

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Beasley Allen Law Firm announced in a press release that a lawsuit has been filed against two trucking companies and a truck driver on behalf of the driver of a Tallapoosa County Girls Ranch van, who was seriously injured, and the families of five children who perished in the van that was involved in a horrific, fiery interstate crash in Butler County, earlier this summer.  

“The defendants, in this case, were negligent and displayed a complete disregard for the lives of fellow travelers around them,” said Greg Allen, the Lead Products Liability lawyer at Beasley Allen Law Firm. “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.” 

 On the afternoon of June 19, 2021, Gulley was driving the Girls Ranch van carrying eight children, including two of her own, from a vacation in Gulf Shores. The van traveled northbound on Interstate 65 alongside a 2020 Volvo truck-trailer owned and operated by Hansen & Adkins Auto Transport. 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.  

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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. But 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.   

“This tragedy should never have happened,” says Allen. “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.” 

Families of five of those children are suing the two trucking companies that caused the accident and wrongful conduct. The actions caused the collision and resulting fire that resulted in the death of the eight children aboard the van.