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William Harrell and his wife were in Florida at the time of the crash. According to The Miami Herald, the car accident occurred at 9:40 p.m. on Wednesday night, just three days after the couple tied the knot. Harrell, who was driving 2020 Toyota Corolla reportedly passed over the center line on U.S. 1 near Lower Matecumbe Key. The Federal Highway Report states that the 62-year-old driver of 2013 Ford F-250 pickup truck attempted to avoid hitting the Corolla by driving into the shoulder of the road, though the two cars still collided.
Harrell and his wife were pronounced dead at the scene, while the pickup truck driver sustained minor injuries. His two passengers, however, suffered critical injuries and were flown to mainland hospitals. According to the report, all drivers were wearing seatbelts, and authorities are investigating whether or not alcohol was involved.
William Harrell was a crew member for Hendrick Motorsports, and his crew chief of six years, Greg Ives, released a statement (via the company’s website) on his passing. In the message, Ives remembered both Harrell and his wife as “positive, giving and passionate people”:
Our entire team is absolutely devastated at the loss of Rowdy and Blakley. They were such positive, giving and passionate people who could not have been a more perfect match. Rowdy had an energetic and infectious personality. He was the heart and soul of our team and always kept us motivated, no matter the circumstance. Rowdy shared his love with the people around him and was loved in return. Although he will be greatly missed, his memory will continue to inspire us always. Our prayers are with Rowdy, Blakley and their wonderful family.
A native of Moundville, Alabama, Harrell attended school at the University of Alabama. During his tenure, he served as a walk-on linebacker for the school’s football team and won three national championships. He would ultimately graduate with a degree in human performance and exercise science.
Hendrick Motorsports also noted that Harrell was a stand-out tire carrier during the past eight seasons. During his career, he also worked with JR Motorsports and, as a member of that organization, he was a two-time NASCAR Xfinity Series champion pit crew member. His most recent work was with with the No. 88 NASCAR Cup Series team of driver Alex Bowman. Bowman also took to Twitter to pay tribute to his colleague and friend:
Rowdy was everything that made the 88 team, the 88 team. The biggest personality and the best person. He was the happiest person you’d ever meet, and that was only reinforced by his wife Blakley. Rip to an absolute legend. You’ll be missed every single day brother.
As of right now, memorial arrangements have not been made for William Harrell and his wife. We here at CinemaBlend extend our deepest condolences to their families during this difficult time.