Driver Dies In Big Rig Crash, Explosion On I-65

May 12, 2009


A fiery 18-wheeler accident that left one person dead  shutdown I-65  near Flomaton this morning.

The driver of the truck has been identified by Alabama State Troopers as David Scott Bentley, 38, of Greenville, Alabama.

Escambia County Emergency Management Director David Adams says Bentley was hauling steel coils when he lost control on I-65 northbound near mile marker 64 between Atmore and Flomaton at Big Escambia Creek. The truck went through a guardrail, struck the bridge, went over the side and exploded into flames under the bridge.

“The truck just exploded into this huge fireball in mid-air,” said Ray Zalce who witnessed the horrific crash. “It just blew up on the way down, and there was this huge cloud of black smoke.”

Zalce and other motorists tried to reach Bentley, but they were unable to save him.

Bentley was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident, which happened about 10:15 Monday morning.

Authorities say Bentley’s truck apparently blew a tire, causing him to lose control.

“Dave was such a good guy,” said Tommy White, a dispatcher for Richway Transporation in Mobile, the company that owned the truck and employed Bentley.  “This is not the way it is suppose to be. This is just heartbreaking. My prayers are for his family.”

A second truck was hit by debris, Adams said, but the driver of that vehicle was not injured.

Northbound traffic from I-65 was diverted into Atmore and Flomaton via Highway 21, Highway 31 and Highway 113, creating traffic problems in both cities for hours.

It took crews hours to clean up debris and diesel fuel off the bridge. The Alabama Department of Transportation inspected the bridge for structural problems following the crash, and they determined it to be safe.

Click here for a photo gallery from the scene.

Pictured above: A truck driver from Greenville, Alabama, was killed in a fiery explosion on I-65 this morning between Flomaton and Atmore. Pictured below (top): This is the remains of the cab of the truck. The seat from the cab can be seen near the large object, which is a steel core that was being hauled on the flatbed trailer. Pictured bottom: The engine and remains of the frame of the truck and trailer. photos, click to enlarge.




22 Responses to “Driver Dies In Big Rig Crash, Explosion On I-65”

  1. Bettie Huckabaa on May 28th, 2009 10:09 am

    David was one of a kind.He would give you the shirt off of his back if you needed it.I will always renember the week end before the accident.We had a great time that will always live in my heart forever.I have loved David for his entire life.His mother was my twine sister when she passed away I guess I filled that spot with him as well as my sister Myra.We was always their for him not only to help but to gust hang out with him.David your Aunt Bettie loves you with all my heart.

  2. gary haskew on May 21st, 2009 5:23 pm

    he was a good person an one of the good time i had with him was the first time i went hunting with him if he like you then you was okay an he treated you like a brother

  3. Virginia on May 21st, 2009 5:04 pm

    My prayers go out to the entire family of David Scott Bentley. I was David’s first mother in law and I remember how proud we were to have him in the family. I could tell you stories about David but the one that stands out in my mind is the night that we went to the hospital for David Scott Bently the second to be born. He was so proud of that tiny bundle, who has grown into a wonderful young man. David was a special person who gave us 2 wonderful grandchildren. Scott and Allison. I never saw him , anywhere when he didn’t speak and often hug me, giving nothing but respect even though our paths had parted and he like my daughter had moved on to another family and life. I remember David as a specail caring person and that’s what I want Scott and Allison and Dylan to remember him as too. Virginia Haskew (namaw)

  4. Susie on May 15th, 2009 3:27 pm

    Daivid and I were married for a short time, we had our good times and bad. I am truly saddened by the way he was taken away from us, so young and full of life. My thoughts and prayers are with the Hartley and Bentley family.

    May God heal your broken hearts in this difficult time.

  5. Christine Paul on May 15th, 2009 1:45 pm

    Scott ,Allison and Dylan I am so sorry about the loss of your daddy.If you need to talk ,cry or just want to hand out know that me and uncle william are here and we love you very much.

    Aunt Tine

  6. Marcia Allen on May 15th, 2009 11:23 am

    David and I married Nov. 28, 1992. Though we divorced a few years later, I have always respected and loved David. He is the father of my two children and his memory will live on through them. I will always have a special place in my heart for David.

    Being that David and I both remarried, I often wondered if he knew how I felt about him. I can only now believe in my heart that he knew…he was my first love. I am so greatful for the time that we shared together and the two precious lives that we produced.

    Please keep his wife, Jessie, and his three children, Scott, Allison, and Dylan in your prayers.

  7. BLACKBURN on May 14th, 2009 6:52 pm


  8. Scott Bentley on May 14th, 2009 4:59 pm

    This was my daddy and we all love and miss him alot. he was my hero and i enjoyed every moment we spent together. I ask that each and everyone keep praying for the family. Don’t worry about Dylan were going to take good care of him. Love You Daddy

  9. pat reaves on May 13th, 2009 11:54 pm

    i’m one of davids friends from greenville,i have a bp at 10 and 31 , he would come in there & buy our hotwings alot….so what a tragedy to happen to such a wonderful man ….he was loved by every one …he would help anyone he could….jessica his wife, shes a sweetheart, and his son to….i could not imagine…but lets all keep the family in our thoughts and prayers…..

  10. Scott C. on May 13th, 2009 12:30 am

    I knew David for years and got a text from his cousin tonight alerting me that this had happened and it saddened me greatly! My prayers go out to Jessy, the baby and both his and her families for this tragic event that has happened. I will also ask that everyone please keep their little baby in your prayers and ask God to be with him as he grows up without his daddy!

  11. Lori McLaughlin Remley on May 12th, 2009 8:05 pm

    I was David’s second wife. My name is Lori and my heart is with his family. My condolences to Jessica, Scott, Alison, and to his 2 year old baby!!! My Mother and sister also give their condolences. God Bless his family.

  12. My 2 cents on May 12th, 2009 6:27 pm

    My heart goes out to his family and friends.

  13. Melora Jackson on May 12th, 2009 4:40 pm

    I was there when it happened…it was the most terrible horrible thing. I will not be the same. My heart goes out to his family.

  14. Elizabeth on May 12th, 2009 8:01 am

    William doesn’t need sleep. He’s a journalist!

  15. AL on May 11th, 2009 11:17 pm

    How horrible….. :(

  16. Tara on May 11th, 2009 10:29 pm

    This is a horrible thing to happen. Prayers to the family. William, you seem to be so busy with all these wrecks. Thanks again for keeping us informed.

  17. William on May 11th, 2009 6:16 pm

    JJ — Yes. Look through the photo gallery. That was it. Near total destruction.
    – William

  18. JJ on May 11th, 2009 6:05 pm

    Wow… that looks terrible. Feel bad for the driver and his friends and family….

    William, is that all that was left of the tractor? Incredible…….

  19. l Dawson on May 11th, 2009 5:15 pm

    I agree I can get news faster here than any other sorce. Good work!

  20. philip on May 11th, 2009 3:34 pm

    our thaughts and prayers go out to the friends and family.
    thanks for the work you do. yall are light years ahead of the snooze journal.

  21. me on May 11th, 2009 1:20 pm

    I think William does an AWESOME job, you get more news from Northescambia than you do the tv. :)

  22. E.M.D. on May 11th, 2009 11:12 am

    Good grief! William. I think we should dub you, “Sir Speedy.” Or, perhaps, “Roadrunner.” You sure do get around. I know you have to own a scanner. Do you ever get to sleep? :D

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