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3 dead after wreck on U.S. 431

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Posted: Monday, July 15, 2013 1:53 pm | Updated: 3:22 pm, Mon Jul 15, 2013.

Sunday may have been the worst day Marshall County Coroner Marlon Killion has worked in his career.

At about 2:30 p.m., two vehicles collided on U.S. 431 near Guntersville, killing three people and injuring at least six others.

Killion called the scene one of “chaotic pandemonium” when he arrived.

“I’ve seen one other wreck that was that bad, back in the 1980s when I worked a head-on collision in Douglas. In that wreck, nine people were killed,” Killion said.

He said at about 2:30 p.m., at least nine passengers were thrown from a pickup truck after it collided with a small sedan. The passengers were riding in both the cab and the bed of truck when the accident occurred. Both the truck and the sedan were northbound on U.S. 431 when the accident occurred. The truck flipped and crossed the southbound lanes before coming to rest in a ditch on the opposite side of the roadway.

All the occupants of the truck were ejected, landing on the highway, Killion said.

Blake Anthony Keener, 19, of East Scott Avenue, Albertville, was a passenger in the truck’s bed. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

A 13-year-old female passenger was also pronounced dead at the scene. Fire officials identified her as Maegan Cordell, of Asbury. Cordell was a passenger in the truck’s cab.

John Ryan Lawson, 19, of Sectionline Road, Guntersville, was transported to Huntsville Hospital where he was pronounced dead at about 12:35 a.m. Monday. He was listed as the driver of the pickup truck.

The truck flipped into the ditch and caught fire. Many of those riding in the truck bed were thrown from the vehicle and sustained serious injuries.

Passers by stopped to help seconds after the accident occurred and pulled many victims clear of the truck as it erupted into flames.

Killion said none of the passengers suffered any burn injuries. All died from blunt force traumatic injuries.

Multiple ambulances and several medical helicopters were summoned to the chaotic scene. Personnel from Guntersville Fire and Police departments, Marshall County Sheriff’s Office and Alabama State Troopers descended on the scene along with ambulances from Marshall Medical Centers and AMED.

Killion said none of the victims had identification with them which made the accident scene even more chaotic.

“They were being loaded up onto ambulances and helicopters as fast as possible,” he said. “We identified them later as we could.”

Witnesses on scene reportedly said the group in the truck looked as if they had been swimming just before the accident.

Traffic was blocked from Grant to Alabama 79. Traffic was detoured through Grant to Alabama 79 until about 6 p.m. when the roadway was reopened.

An investigation into the accident is ongoing and is being headed up by Alabama State Troopers.

Calls made to Alabama State Trooper Curtis Summerville were not immediately returned Monday.

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