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Truck driver Darryl Lansdell of Muscle Shoals died after his 18-wheeler hit a guard rail Monday on Interstate 65. Firefighters from multiple departments battled the blaze, which spread from the truck to the grass median.
Daily photo by Gary Lloyd
Truck driver Darryl Lansdell of Muscle Shoals died after his 18-wheeler hit a guard rail Monday on Interstate 65. Firefighters from multiple departments battled the blaze, which spread from the truck to the grass median.

Shoals man dies in fiery I-65 crash at Ardmore

By Holly Hollman
hhollman@decaturdaily.com 340-2445

ARDMORE — A Shoals man died Monday after the 18-wheeler he was driving hit an Interstate 65 guard rail and erupted into flames.

Troopers identified the driver as Darryl Lansdell, 41, of Muscle Shoals. He was driving a Ryder rental truck and hauling wooden pallets.

The wreck occurred at 11:30 a.m. in the southbound lane just south of Ardmore exit 365.

Troopers did not release the cause of the wreck.

The fire spread from the truck to the grass median, which led to the closure of all southbound and northbound lanes until firefighters had it under control.

Responders opened one southbound lane and one northbound lane at about noon. The second northbound lane opened at 1:45 p.m.

Ardmore, Piney Chapel and Oak Grove-Thach volunteer fire departments and Athens Fire battled the blaze.

"We were called in because it was thought he was hauling batteries, but it turned out he wasn't," Athens Fire Chief Cliff Christopher said. Athens has a Hazmat unit.

The chief said Lansdell had severe burns and was unresponsive at the scene.

Responders called MedFlight to take Lansdell to the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital's burn center, but his condition worsened.

Assistant Limestone Coroner Barry Jones said an ambulance took Lansdell to Athens-Limestone Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Jones said Lansdell had first- and second-degree burns over much of his body.

The fiery crash had fellow truckers counting their blessings. A truck driver who offered a reporter a ride to the crash scene and gave his name only as Nathaniel, said the wreck had drivers chattering on their CB radios.

The talk centered on theories about the cause of the wreck and how drivers need to be careful.

"I heard he was burned from the neck down," Nathaniel said. "You never know when something like this can happen."

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