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.
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. NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.