Hendrick Motorsports crew member and wife killed in car crash

A longtime Hendrick Motorsports crew member and his newlywed wife were killed Tuesday night in a traffic accident in the Florida Keys, the team confirmed.

William “Rowdy” Harrell, who most recently served as a tire carrier on driver Alex Bowman’s No. 88 NASCAR Cup Series team, and his wife, Blakley, died at the scene in a head-on car crash in the Florida Keys Tuesday night, according to police reports.

The crash happened around 9:40 p.m. at mile marker 76 on U.S. 1 on Lower Matecumbe Key. William, 30, and Blakley, 23, had been married on Saturday and were on their honeymoon.

“Our entire team is absolutely devastated at the loss of Rowdy and Blakley,” said Greg Ives, who was Harrell’s crew chief for the past six seasons. “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.”

Before his NASCAR career, Harrell won three national championships as a walk-on middle linebacker for the University of Alabama football team. The native of Moundville, Ala., held a degree in human performance and exercise science from the school.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Harrell was driving a 2020 Toyota Corolla north on the two-lane highway when he crossed into the southbound lane in the path of a 2013 Ford F-250 pickup truck driven by a 62-year-old man from Tennessee.

The pickup truck driver was transported to Mariners Hospital in Tavernier, Fla., with minor injuries. His two passengers, a 58-year-old woman from Tennessee, and a 62-year-old Tennessee woman, were seriously injured.

All the passengers and drivers were wearing seatbelts, the FHP report said. The agency said it is investigating whether alcohol was involved in the crash.

Memorial arrangements for the Harrells are incomplete at this time.


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