Friends and family are trying to cope with the sudden death of their loved one. Chase Pannell died in a crash on his way to work Thursday.
The crash happened on South Memorial Parkway at Hobbs Island Road. Huntsville police say a dump truck driver for Reed Contracting Services T-boned Pannell when he didn't have the right of way.
WAAY 31 learned Chase Pannell was a manager at Red Rocket Express car wash in Huntsville. Kyle Bailey, who works at the car wash, said he's still struggling to come to terms with the wreck.
"Gone too soon. We did our best just to get by yesterday, and today, it doesn't really feel real," he said.
He says Chase was always focused on work, and his fiance, Nicole, was his world.
"That's all he did was work, and he would bring her flowers once a week for no reason. She was the most important thing to him," he said.
Bailey says his boss was always on his case about following the rules of the road, which makes Wednesday's death all the more heart-breaking. He says when he saw Chase's mangled truck, he knew his boss had no chance of preventing the crash.
"He definitely was paying attention. There is nothing he could have done about it. It just makes me sick for real," he said.
Huntsville police say it appears the driver in a dump truck for Reed Contracting turned left from the Parkway onto Hobbs Island Road into oncoming traffic when he didn't have the right of way.
Bailey said seeing the damage to his manager's truck brought up a lot of questions.
"It's like they didn't even try to stop. Also, I didn't know the driver, didn't know what he was doing. What was going through his mind? When you're in control of a vehicle like that, you have to be aware, you have to be paying attention, because you can do exactly this, take someone from their family and their people that love him," he said.
Bailey said it hasn't sunk in yet that Chase is gone.
"Every time I hear a loud truck going down the road, I just look out the window and expect to see his truck pulling in the parking lot," he said.
He says doesn't think he'll ever have a boss or friend like him again.
"Chase was a good man. He was one of the best people I ever had the pleasure to meet. There will never be another person like him," he said.
WAAY 31 checked with the federal regulator that monitors these types of crashes. We learned Reed Contracting has been involved in 13 crashes prior to Wednesday.
Two of those crashes resulted in injuries.
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