Tua Foundation donating $93K to girls ranch hit by 8 deaths
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A nonprofit foundation started by Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa said Thursday it would donate $93,000 to an Alabama girls home to cover the funeral expenses of eight children killed in a horrific interstate crash in June.
The Tua Foundation said the donation to the Tallapoosa County Girls Ranch also would pay for counseling for ranch residents who lost loved ones in the wreck, which happened as a van was returning to the central Alabama facility following a beach trip in June. The chain-reaction pileup was the most devastating blow from a tropical depression that unleashed flash floods and tornadoes in Alabama.
Money was raised during a “Luau with Tua” event held in Tuscaloosa, where Tagovailoa played for the University of Alabama, and the NFL player gave another $46,500.
“The generosity of the Alabama community was very moving throughout the entire Luau and my heart goes out to the Tallapoosa County Girls Ranch families, members and staff that are grieving this tragedy,” Tagovailoa said in a statement. “We hope this donation will provide some support and extra care during this difficult time.”
A preliminary report released this week by the National Transportation Safety Board said a commercial truck operated by California-based Hansen & Adkins Auto Transport hit a sport-utility vehicle that was stopped because of earlier, minor crashes. That began a chain reaction that included another tractor-trailer rig operated by Asmat Express, which hit the van.
Eight children ranging in age from 3 to 17 died in the van, and a Tennessee man and his daughter died in another vehicle. The report described the crash but did not place blame or say what caused the wreck, which happened on Interstate 65 about 35 miles (56 kilometers) south of Montgomery.
A spokesman for Hansen & Adkins declined comment on specifics of the report.
“Our hearts go out to those affected. Because the investigation is ongoing, it would be premature to comment other than we are cooperating with the appropriate authorities,” said Tom Terry, managing director for human resources.