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Decatur man dies in crash with truck

By Seth Burkett 340-2355

PRICEVILLE — A crash into the rear of a parked tractor-trailer killed a Decatur man and critically injured an Eva man early Thursday, authorities said.

State troopers said Kevin J. Burtis, 29, was a passenger in the sport utility vehicle that collided with the truck at Interstate 65 and Alabama 67 at 1:40 a.m. Morgan County Coroner Russ Beard pronounced Burtis dead at the scene.

The SUV's driver, Adam Keith Cobbs, 29, was taken to Huntsville Hospital by MedFlight helicopter. Cobbs was listed in critical condition in the hospital's surgical intensive care unit late Thursday.

"It appeared they were getting on the entrance ramp off Alabama 67 to get on I-65 south," Beard said. "The 18-wheeler was parked on the west side of the ramp there, probably about midway up the ramp."

Beard said the truck appeared to be parked completely off the roadway.

The impact, he said, was great enough to bend the trailer's rear axle and "it crushed the whole front of the vehicle back on them," Beard said.

Firefighters cut the doors to get Burtis and Cobbs out of the SUV, he said.

The driver of the tractor-trailer was not injured, troopers said.

"The driver told me he was in his sleeper" at the time of the wreck, Beard said. "He told me he pulled over about 9:45 p.m. and he was asleep."

Beard said Burtis and his family recently moved to Decatur from Cullman, where he worked for a contractor. He is survived by his wife and their four children.

"It's a tragic accident. A man that age leaving a wife and four children," Beard said. "I feel sorry for the family."

Cullman Heritage Funeral Home will handle arrangements for Burtis.

The wreck remains under investigation by state troopers.

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