A Cullman man was killed and a Wal-Mart Distribution Center truck driver was injured in a fiery head-on crash just east of Berlin on U.S. Highway 278 Sunday.

Terry David Martin, 55, was pronounced dead at the scene of the 7:10 a.m. accident by Cullman County Coroner Gary Murphree.

Martin, driving a 2004 Pontiac Sunfire, was reportedly heading west on Highway 278, when he reportedly swerved into the path of an eastbound 2007 International tractor-trailer driven by Allen L. Twilley, 45, of Cullman.

Authorities said Twilley attempted to avoid the collision by steering off the roadway. The vehicles, however, collided "nearly head-on", according to Ralph Laney, chief of the Berlin Volunteer Fire Department.

Murphree said in his opinion Martin died instantly in the crash from massive head, upper body and chest injuries.

"It was just a horrendous crash," Murphree said. "I feel certain death was instantaneous."

Laney said the collision was so violent that it tore the front axles out from underneath the 18-wheeler.

"The collision occurred just west of the bridge at Duck River, near the turnoff at County Road 759," Laney said. "After the collision, the Wal-Mart truck rolled over onto its side in the ditch and the Martin vehicle spun around in the middle of the road before coming to a stop facing in the opposite direction."

Laney said a fire erupted in the cab of the truck as a result of the collision.

"I didn't see the driver (Twilley) but I heard he sustained burns on his hands and face, according to medical personnel at the scene," Laney said. "I don't believe any of his injuries were serious however."

Twilley was reportedly transported to Cullman Regional Medical Center.

Cullman County HAZMAT was also dispatched to the scene to assist, Laney said.

Highway 278 was closed to traffic from 7:15 a.m. to roughly 2 p.m. Sunday, Laney said.

"Traffic had to be re-routed from 278 to County Road 747 at Berlin and from Holly Pond to 91 and to Fairview," Laney said.

The death is the 13th traffic-related fatality in Cullman County this year.

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