Tropical Storm Claudette Kills 13 in Alabama, Heading to East Coast

By: Alyssa Wilson

Thirteen people in Alabama were killed in a multi-vehicle crash Sunday as Tropical Depression Claudette moved through the state. According to The Guardian, the crash, which took place about 35 miles south of Montgomery, was likely caused by the vehicles hydroplaning in wet conditions.  

RELATED: Tropical Storm Delta joins Gamma in busy hurricane season 

Of the thirteen victims, many were children from the Tallapoosa County Girls Ranch, a youth home for abused and neglected children, traveling from the Gulf Shores in a van. Michael Smith, the ranch CEO, said the ranch director Candice Gulley was the only survivor and she had to be pulled from the flames by a bystander. Her two daughters were killed in the crash. “Words cannot explain what I saw,” Smith said. “We love these girls like they’re our own children.”  

Cody Fox, a 29-year-old man, and his nine-month-old daughter Ariana were also killed in the crash. Ten investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board will be investigating the incident.  

The additional three victims were a 24-year-old man and a three-year-old boy who were killed when a tree fell on their home outside of Tuscaloosa, and a 23-year-old woman who died when her car ran off the road and into a creek, NBC News reported.  

RELATED: New tropical storm poses potential hurricane threat to US 

On Monday, Claudette had sustained wind speeds of 40 mph as it moved east. It reached Tropical Storm strength again and is expected to travel near Nova Scotia on Tuesday.  

If you or someone you know is struggling from trauma triggered by this story, resources are available here 

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