LOWER MATECUMBE KEY, Florida — A Nascar pit crew member and his newlywed bride were tragically killed in a head-on collision while on their honeymoon to the Florida Keys.
William “Rowdy” Harrell, 30, who was a pit crew member for Hendrick Motorsports, was driving with his wife, Blakley, 23, when he veered over the center line on US 1 into oncoming traffic Tuesday night in Lower Matecumbe Key, according to authorities.
The car slammed head-on into a Ford F-250 pickup truck, killing the couple instantly. The 62-year-old driver of the other vehicle suffered minor injuries, while his two passengers — a 58-year-old woman from Tennessee and a 62-year-old Florida woman — were critically injured and airlifted to hospitals.
Hendrick Motorsports, based in Concord, North Carolina, said Harrell had been a “stand out tire carrier” for eight seasons, most recently working in the pit crew for driver Alexa Bowman.
“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. “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.”
The Harrell’s had been visiting the Florida vacation destination for their honeymoon after tying the knot Nov. 22, the team said.
Prior to his NASCAR career, Harrell won three championships as a linebacker for the University of Alabama football team. He also played football at Hale County High School in Moundville, Alabama.