Times Staff WriterPublished June 28, 2008OHATCHEE
— Divers from the Etowah County Sheriff’s Department searched the waters of Boiling Creek south of Ohatchee to make sure there were no more victims following a Friday morning wreck that claimed two lives.John Mauk, 59, and his 19-year-old daughter, Samantha Mauk, both of Bridgeport in Jackson County, died in the wreck that happened just before 11 a.m. on Alabama Highway 77,Calhoun County Coroner Pat Brown said.
Details about what caused the wreck still are being investigated, but a pickup pulling a utility trailer was headed north on Alabama Highway 77 and an 18-wheeler was headed south, Brown said.Investigators still are trying to determine if the trailer malfunctioned and swerved into the oncoming lane or if the 18-wheeler crossed over, Brown said. However, the driver of the 18-wheeler driver lost control and crossed the northbound lane on the bridge, went through the guard rail and in the water.
The driver of the pickup and another passerby dove into the water and pulled the man and woman out of the truck.Brown said he wanted to make sure no other victims were in the truck and called for assistance from the sheriff’s department dive team.“We appreciate Sheriff (Todd) Entrekin and the dive team helping us out,” Brown said.The divers were able to check the truck’s cab and the area around the truck and found nothing.The truck’s diesel fuel spilled into the water, but it was contained in that area, Brown said.The Calhoun County Emergency Management Agency worked to contain the diesel spill, and the Alabama Department of Environmental Management and the Environmental Protection Agency were called.
Mauk apparently was on his way to pick up a load in Sylacauga, and the box trailer was empty. Mauk apparently worked for Storey Trucking in Henagar.Cranes already were set up early Friday afternoon to raise the truck and trailer from the water. Alabama Department of Transportation crews also were working to make repairs to the guard rail. It is unclear how long Alabama 77 will remain closed.Brown said autopsies are being done as a routine part of the investigation.