East Alabama father and daughter killed in crash along Interstate 85 in Opelika


OPELIKA, Ala. (WRBL) – Opelika police are investigating a deadly crash along Interstate 85 that claimed the lives of an east Alabama father and his daughter.

Lee County Coroner Bill Harris confirms David Darnell and his daughter Abbey were killed in the crash Thursday afternoon.

“16-year-old Abbey Darnell and her father, 49-year-old David Darnell died instantly when the vehicle they were in was struck from behind on I-85 near the 63 mile marker in the southbound lane. It appears the father, had pulled off the side of the interstate to check on his daughter’s vehicle which had been stranded earlier from a flat tire. A Chevrolet pickup traveling south on the interstate struck the victims’ vehicle from behind and knocked it into the stranded vehicle. The driver of the truck was transported by ambulance to Piedmont Midtown Medical Center in Columbus for treatment of his injuries. His condition is unknown currently. Both victim’s bodies have been sent to the medical examiner’s office of the Alabama Dept. of Forensic Sciences in Montgomery for a postmortem examination,” said Harris.

Opelika police and fire responded to the scene.

“At approximately 11:15 AM on April 23, the Opelika Police Department and Opelika Fire Department responded to a car crash on Interstate 85 southbound near mile marker 63. Upon arrival, officers located a crash involving three vehicles,” said Captain Shane Healey with the Opelika Police Department.

The initial investigation determined a vehicle traveling south struck a car parked in the emergency lane. Both occupants of the parked vehicle succumbed to their injuries on the scene and were pronounced dead by Assistant Lee County Coroner Gene Manning.

“The driver of the first vehicle was transported to Piedmont Columbus Regional Midtown in Columbus, Georgia, for treatment of their injuries. The third car was unoccupied at the time of the crash,” said Captain Healey.

The case remains under investigation by the Opelika Police Department’s Traffic Homicide Investigative team. Anyone with information on this crash is asked to contact the Opelika Police Department at (334)75-5200 or the Secret Witness Hotline at (334)745-8665.

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