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Casey Coffey of Solley Crane Service helps move debris from the underside of a wrecked crane so it could be moved Sunday.  Operator Justin “Curtis” Self was fatally injured Saturday when the 100,000-pound crane overturned while going down Brindley Mountain on U.S. 231. It took rescue workers 1˝ hours  to extract Self from the crushed cab. He died en route to the hospital.
Daily photos by Jonathan Palmer
Casey Coffey of Solley Crane Service helps move debris from the underside of a wrecked crane so it could be moved Sunday. Operator Justin “Curtis” Self was fatally injured Saturday when the 100,000-pound crane overturned while going down Brindley Mountain on U.S. 231. It took rescue workers 1˝ hours to extract Self from the crushed cab. He died en route to the hospital.

Brindley
Mountain tragedy

Hartselle father, 28, dies after crane accident; talked of daughters to rescuers

By Holly Hollman
hhollman@decaturdaily.com · 340-2445

BRINDLEY MOUNTAIN — Hanging upside down in the crushed cab of a crane, Justin “Curtis” Self of Hartselle uttered the words “I’ve got two little girls. Get me out of here.”

That’s according to crane owner Ray Solley.

It took 11/2 hours for rescue workers to cut Self, 28, from the cab, said Brindlee Mountain Volunteer Fire Department Capt. Jeff Burns.

Self wrecked at the foot of Brindley Mountain at 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

Ray Solley owner of Solley Crane Service, watches as crew work to remove wreckage from the roadway at the scene of Saturday’s accident that killed Solley’s employee, Justin “Curtis” Self. “Justin was a very good man,” Solley said. “He was a loyal employee, and we enjoyed having him work for us.”
Ray Solley owner of Solley Crane Service, watches as crew work to remove wreckage from the roadway at the scene of Saturday’s accident that killed Solley’s employee, Justin “Curtis” Self. “Justin was a very good man,” Solley said. “He was a loyal employee, and we enjoyed having him work for us.”
“He was conscious until they lifted him out, and then he went into shock,” Solley said. “He died as they were getting him on the helicopter to take him to the hospital.”

Self was married to Brie, and had two daughters, ages 3 and 7, Solley said. The daughters’ names are Courtney and Katelyn. Solley did not know which daughter was what age.

“Justin was a very good man,” Solley said. “He was a loyal employee, and we enjoyed having him work for us.”

Self worked for Solley Crane Service in Decatur for eight years.

Solley said troopers told him speed might have been a factor in the wreck. Solley said Self was going down Brindley Mountain on U.S. 231 in the northbound lane.

“He hit the right guardrail, then the left, then the right again and flipped,” Solley said.

The entire vehicle, which includes the crane and a driver’s cab and operator’s cab, weighs 100,000 pounds.

The cab split from the crane and rolled about 20 feet down an embankment, Burns said. Solley said the crane landed bottom side up next to the road.

The cab also landed upside down.

“We had to stabilize the cab, or it would have rolled and killed about 10 rescuers,” Burns said. “We tried to lift it, but finally had to cut him out.”

Lacey’s Spring and Somerville fire departments and Huntsville-Madison County Rescue Squad assisted Brindlee Mountain.

Workers from Solley Crane removed the damaged crane Sunday. They worked from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Solley said it took two cranes and a wrecker to pick up the damaged crane and remove it.

Self’s funeral will be at Peck Funeral Home on Tuesday at 4 p.m.

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