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CCSO investigates possible Homicide on Cheaha Mountain

Press release issued by Clay County Sheriff, Ray Latham

On Sunday afternoon at approximately 6pm, Clay County Sheriff’s Office was notified of a possible homicide on Pinhoti Trail in the Cheaha Mountain area near the State Park in Clay County. Sheriff’s Investigators have charged 20 year old Loren Daniel Bunner of Vincent, Alabama with Murder. Sheriff Latham states that this investigation is currently on-going and a more informative press release will be provided once the investigation is completed. Bunner is currently in the Clay County Detention Center under a $150,000 bond.   

More to come later. Stay tuned…

APD, LPD issue statements, name suspect in Lewd Behavior Incidents

Below is a press release issued by Ashland Police Chief Joseph Stanford on Saturday’s lewd incident arrest.

On August 21, 2015, the Ashland Police department received a call about a man involved in lewd behavior in the Dollar General parking lot. Officers responded and searched for the suspect but was unable to locate the person responsible. Officers from the Lineville Police Department advised our officers of a similar incident that had occurred in their jurisdiction, who the suspect was.

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On August 22, 2015, the Ashland Police Department received two separate calls about similar behavior at two locations. The witnesses were able to identify the male involved was identified as Adam Waldrop, age 30, of Lineville. Warrants were obtained for his arrest in the cases, and the other agencies in the County were notified of the charges.

 

At approximately 5:30 PM, Mr. Waldrop was located in Lineville’s police jurisdiction and officers attempted to apprehend him. The suspect was able to evade capture for a short time before being apprehended by law enforcement. He was captured a short time after, and was taken into custody by an Ashland Officer and was transported to the department for processing.

The suspect was charged with Indecent Exposure and Harassment, and transported to the Clay County Detention Center, where he is currently being held on $2000 bond.

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Ashland Police Chief Joseph Stanford would like to extend appreciation to the departments that assisted in the apprehension of the suspect. Any further questions regarding this should be forwarded through his office. He can be reached at 256-354-2122.

The following press release was issued by Lineville Police Department Chief Monty Giddens involving this same individual 

On August 19, 2015 Lineville Police Department received complaints of Indecent Behavior in Fred’s parking lot about 8:30am and another Incident of the same nature in Dollar General parking lot about 2:35pm the same day.

Lineville Police Dept.
Lineville Police Dept.

Later that day, approximately 3:47pm, Lineville Police made contact with the person they believe to have committed these acts at the intersection of Highway 49 and East College Street in Lineville.  Officers arrested Edward Adam Waldrop for Public Lewdness and Indecent Exposure in relations to the two earlier incidents.  Mr. Waldrop was transported to Lineville Police Department where he later made bond and was released.

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On August 22, 2015, Ashland Police Department contacted Lineville Police Department and advised they had warrants for Edward Adam Waldrop for similar acts that had occurred in their city earlier.  Lineville and Ashland Police went to Mr. Waldrop’s residence at 64974 Highway 49 where he was taken into custody and transported to Ashland Police Department.

Lineville Mapco Incident leads to two arrests

Below is a statement released from the Lineville Police Department about the Aug. 5th incident at Mapco.cell 1

On August 5, 2015 at approximately 12:03 pm, Lineville Police Department  received a call from an employee at Mapco about a suspicious person outside their store. Lineville Police Department immediately dispatched two officers to that location.

From the time the initial call call and officer arrival, they got details of what had just occurred and the description of the suspicious person, who is now the subject.

Officers began searching the area for the suspect and asked for assistance from City Maintenance and Water Board employees and set up a perimeter from Hwy 9, Hwy 49, Wesobulga St and South St.

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Clay County Sheriff’s Department sent a couple of deputies and members of the public even began assisting. After a lengthy search and foot pursuit, the suspect was taken into custody around Mitchell St. and Jackson Springs Road area.

Those arrested were Darius Lavon Hale, a 19 yr old male from Childersburg, Alabama. Mr. Hale was charged with Theft of Property 2nd and Attempting to Elude. Mr. Hale was taken to the Clay County Jail and bond was set at $7500.

After an investigation, Haley Carin Caldwell was also charged with Theft of Property 2nd and taken to Clay County Jail and her bond was set at $5,000.

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After the investigation, we believe the victim, who was a juvenile and his information will not be released, had agreed to sell his phone to the suspects. This agreement was reached through social media. All along, the plan was to steal the victim’s phone and turn around to sell it.

To make things worse, we believe Mr. Hale was armed with a hand gun. This is a perfect example of how dangerous it is to use social media when dealing with people you don’t know. You can never be sure what their intentions may be.

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We do want to thank the Clay County Sheriff’s Department for their assistance. We also want to extend special Thanks to City employees, outside the Police Department, as well as member of the public who helped us with the search that led to the arrest. Thankfully, we were able to get the suspect into custody and no one was hurt.

 

Remembering Donna Kennedy…

By: Tammy Andrews

It’s funny how particular events will stand out in your mind and remain plastered there throughout your lifetime. It is with a sad heart that I bring you this story. It one of a beautiful person who fought many battles throughout her short life. She will forever be known as one of life’s greatest warriors to me…

In 2009, I covered an accident when I was working for the Clay Times-Journal that I will never forget. The one-vehicle accident occurred on Thursday, May 21 around 9:00 PM. After receiving the call that I needed to go get a picture, I set out with my camera in hand to Crooked Creek Bridge area on Hwy 49S, where the accident scene was filled with rescue and volunteer workers, who were actively working to free the trapped occupant.

Working wrecks like that was always the worst part of the job for me, because I always felt it was a violation of privacy for the victims and their families, not to mention, because it was such a small town, I usually knew the victim(s). This time was no exception. To this day, I still hate working accident scenes.

I soon learned that the entrapped victim of the vehicle was Donna Kennedy, the sister of a friend of mine and a lady I knew and interacted with a great deal because she worked as a cashier at Fred’s.

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While emergency personnel worked feverishly to free Donna,  I sat and waited for my photo op, because I wasn’t going to take a picture  while she was still entrapped in the mangled vehicle, just in case her injuries were life threatening.

Donna’s vehicle had come to rest basically “between a rock and a hard place”, I was told, because it had rolled on its side and was up against a tree in such a manner that tested the resourcefulness of the emergency personnel. This was a situation that if wasn’t handled appropriately, could result in even more injuries for Donna if failed. It was a task that would take hours to free her from the wreckage and all hands were needed.

Donna remained conscious within the confines of the wreckage while the vehicle had to be cut away from her piece by piece.  CCRS President Ricky Farr referred to Donna as a “real trooper” because she was awake and talked to them the entire time. “I can’t imagine how she felt, being trapped that way,  I’m sure she was scared to death but she kept talking”, said Farr.

A Lifesaver had been paged out and was waiting to fly her out. Omniflight personnel joined in the rescue, and as soon as they were able to get to her, still entrapped, did as much as an  assessment of the patient. An IV was started and a backboard carefully put in place to free Donna from her nightmare. She was then flown out.

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The entire ordeal lasted for 3 hours. Donna suffered several broken bones, including several ribs, both wrists, an arm and one leg, with many lacerations. Her recovery was a long one…one she never really fully came back from.

Donna and her children would have another accident approximately 2 years later, when a deer that ran out in front of her causing her to flip her vehicle. Donna would never drive again.

Neither of these incidents were the first time she had a brush with death. In 2004, complications from a gastric bypass surgery almost took her life. In fact, she crashed several times on the table and some afterward. Her situation was a very critical one, but she was finally sent home after a lengthy hospital stay with a long recovery ahead of her.

Through every ordeal she survived, she never lost her sense of humor or her sheer will to live. She loved life, her family, and her children, Whitney and Hannah, more than anything else in the world.

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Just recently, Donna went to the ER very sick, with breathing issues. She was diagnosed with pneumonia and sent home with medication. But she didn’t get any better.

The next night she would have to return to the ER with serious breathing problems. She was transported to UAB and further tests revealed  Donna had a hernia on  small intestine, which was the site of a very bad infection. The infection had also traveled to her lungs as well. She was medically sedated and put on a breathing tube. She underwent a five-hour surgery the next day to remove the hernia and rid her body of the infection. Doctors informed the family this infection could have possibly stemmed from a suture of her botched gastric bypass surgery eleven years before.

After the surgery, Donna was placed in a medically induced coma to allow her body to heal and fight off the infection in her lungs. With every obstacle she had overcome in her life, this one was the worst.

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Sadly, this was one Donna would not overcome. Tests revealed she had suffered a series of strokes, causing her brain to stop functioning. She was considered brain dead and placed on life support.  The family was given no hope at all, leaving them with one of the most difficult choices any family could ever make.

As many of you already know, Donna Kennedy passed away yesterday afternoon, Friday, Aug. 7, 2015, after she was taken off of life support. She was just 39 years old.  And with all that had happened to her throughout her life, I’d venture to say she now wears the brightest, most beautiful set of golden wings that sparkle throughout the heavens.

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What can I say about Donna? Well, I didn’t know her as well as some did, but I can tell you that she had this quirky sense of humor that would keep you laughing. She was a matter of fact kind of person and would tell you exactly what she thought. Every time she checked me out at Fred’s, I would leave there smiling.

Donna’s death comes just two months after her granddaughter, Allie, was laid to rest after a very premature birth. This broke Donna’s heart, but it is one of the few things that brings comfort to her family to know she is up there with Allie now, watching over her.

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Funeral services for Donna will be Wednesday, August 12, 2015 at 11:00 A.M. at Benefield Funeral Home in Ashland with Rev. Jim Wilcox and Rev. J. J. Burkhalter officiating. Burial will follow in the New Prospect Baptist Church Cemetery.

The family will receive friends at Benefield Funeral Home in Ashland on Tuesday, August 11 from 5:30 P.M. until 8:00 P.M. and until service time on Wednesday.

 

Donna had no life insurance. Clay County Cycle Club will host Benefit Bike Ride in her memory on September 19th. If anyone is interested in donating to the burial expenses, please contact Brady Pitts.

Rest easy, Donna, your fight is over and you will be sorely missed…

 

Suspect nabbed after foot pursuit with community efforts

By: Tammy Andrews

A call to Lineville Police Dept was made today between 12 and 1 from Lineville Mapco stating that a black male, wearing a white t shirt wrapped around his head who was loitering and acting suspiciously. The clerk on duty said she became very uneasy when he came out from behind the building suddenly as she was taking her break.

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Lineville Police Investigator Chris Mathews responded to the scene and was met by a frantic juvenile who claimed the perpetrator had just snatched his cell phone out of his hands. When the suspect saw Mathews, he immediately ran.  The perpetrator was ensued on foot, and some in vehicles that led to a 45 minute chase.

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Local authorities, city workers and some volunteers combed the perimeter of South St, Parker St, Hwy 49S and 9N searching for the suspect. He was spotted again running across Hwy 9 and crossed over to Jackson Springs Rd, before he was apprehended around the Mitchell Street area by some amazing teamwork.

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Through the joint efforts of Lineville City Maintenance workers, Lineville Police Department, along with Lineville Police Investigator Chris Mathews, Clay County Sheriff’s Office, and several volunteers,  surrounded the perpetrator, forcing his surrender.

Mathews wished to extend his gratitude to all these parties who helped make this capture possible. Clay County Rescue Squad was called to LPD to evaluate the suspect in custody and he refused transport.

More information will be released at a later date.

 

Cragford Bridge has a new namesake

By: Tammy Andrews

Not much happens in the sleepy little town of Cragford, but you wouldn’t have ever guessed that if you rode through there on Sunday, July 26th at 2:00 PM. That’s because on this historical date, the usually empty street was filled with citizens who had come to see Cragford’s most prominent citizen, Mr. Buster Robertson, as he was honored in a timeless fashion with one of the highest regards bestowed upon him and his family name.

Under this beautiful, yet sweltering, hot July day, well over a hundred people came out to watch history in the making as the Cragford Bridge was renamed The Buster Robertson Bridge. A most fitting honor, anyone would say who knows this kind man. Important political figures were speakers at this ceremony, such as State Senator Gerald Dial, State Representative Richard Laird, Major General Commander Mark C. Bowen and Brigadier General Wendell McClain as the unveiling took place.

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So, what does one achieve in life to deserve such an honor? Well, that list is long and is still ongoing. Mr. Robertson’s lifetime accomplishments speaks volumes, without ever leaving his hometown. Eighty seven years in Cragford, Alabama and although he has watched his birthplace dry up a little more with each passing year,  seeing nothing but boarded up businesses in his hometown, to him it is still paradise.

Buster was born in Cragford on January 9, 1928, right next door to the home he has owned now for almost 70 years now. As a young boy, he would work in his grandfather’s Auto Shop, which would one day be passed along to him. Buster would serve as owner of this successful business until he retired in 1994, leaving his son, Larry to take the reins as a fourth generation owner. Robertson’s Garage is considered to be the epicenter of Cragford, even now as the trusted family name keeps the business successful.

Buster graduated from Cragford School, which is no longer running, but serves as the Cragford Community Center. Buster married the love of his life, Mary Jo Walker, and was blessed with three children, Susan, Deborah, and Larry. Later, they would watch this family grow to add three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Sadly, they would also say good-bye to daughter, Deborah, after she lost her bout with cancer.

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Buster and Mary Jo’s sixty seven years of marriage is one for the storybooks, because they don’t make marriages like that anymore. Buster said good-bye to his beautiful bride in February 2015, with promises to see her again one day in eternity.

Buster was a busy man with a strong work ethic. Besides running a successful business, he also served on the Board of Directors at First State Bank for over 30 years, and even served on the Board at Alabama Motorsports Hall of Fame. Buster was also a founding member of the Cragford-Corinth Fire Department, serving 22 years as an active member. He was also a Charter member of the Lineville Quarterback Club.

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Buster loved Auburn football and was a 10 lifetime member of the Auburn Alumni Association; Buster was very proud of the fact that all of his children graduated from Auburn University. Buster served with the Alabama National Guard Unit for 36 and a half years before he retired.

One of the Buster’s highest priorities in life has been his relationship with God.  The Robertson family have always been active members of the Cragford Baptist Church, where he has served as Deacon for over 60 years and running.

Even now in his retirement, he still works some on lawn mowers and tractors, and keeps the grass cut at the church and community center.  Buster has worn many hats well in his lifetime, to the degree that he leaves some tall shoes to fill one day.

Throughout his lifetime, Buster has watched the Cragford Bridge go from an old iron bridge with wooden floors to a beautiful curved bridge that ends almost at the front door of Robertson’s Garage.  And from now on, he will look at it very differently.

Cragford Bridge under construction
Cragford Bridge under construction

If you look closely as you ride over the bridge, you will see a well-built bridge with a good, solid, foundation. The curved architecture shows a uniqueness about the fine structure that no one else can mimic. Just like its new namesake…

Congratulations, Mr. Buster Robertson for giving this bridge a good name. You may not think you are worthy, but everyone else in Clay County thinks it’s well-deserved.  And Thank you for adding just a little more character to our county 🙂

 

wreck victim airlifted; suffers serious injuries

By: Tammy Andrews

Asking for prayers for Emil Jordan, who suffered serious injuries from this one-vehicle accident on Hwy 9 South just out of Ashland on Friday, July 10 around 4:30 PM.  Jordan was entrapped in his vehicle and hydraulic tools were used  by emergency personnel to extract him.jordan wreck

Jordan was taken by ambulance to the Clay County Hospital helipad where he was airlifted to Emory Hospital in Ga. Jordan’s injuries included a broken hip, crushed pelvis, and broken femur, and five (5) broken ribs. Jordan also has a blood clot in his lungs, which may take as long as 4 weeks to clear up. At present time, the main focus is getting his oxygen regulated.

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Emil’s wife, Debra wishes to thank all of the emergency personnel who helped at the accident scene as well: Clay County Rescue Squad, Ashland Police, Clay County Sheriff’s Office, and Ashland Fire Department and all volunteers.

Mr. Jordan looks to have a long recovery period ahead of him. Debra wishes to thank everyone for their support thus far and asks that everyone keep those prayers coming because they are working!