One of the biggest hurdles municipal police departments face in Chilton County is not being allowed to enforce traffic laws such as speeding (shown above) on Interstate 65.
One of the biggest hurdles municipal police departments face in Chilton County is not being allowed to enforce traffic laws such as speeding (shown above) on Interstate 65.

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Authorities see increase in wrecks on I-65 in Chilton County

Published 4:24pm Friday, October 4, 2013

Authorities in Chilton County have seen an increase in wrecks this year in what has been deemed the “black hole.”

“It has gotten to the point that every time it rains from the Interstate 65 210-211 mile markers that there will be a wreck,” Clanton Police Chief Brian Stilwell said.

Serving as a main thoroughfare to larger cities such as Birmingham and Montgomery as well as the ability to drive 70 miles per hour on a stretch of land with less traffic than the larger cities, Interstate 65 in Chilton County has seen an increase in wrecks for 2013.

Although statistics for the entire year will not be available until January 2014, the number of wrecks CPD has responded to along I-65 from exits 205-212 in Clanton from Jan. 1-Oct. 4, is currently at 39.

In 2012, there were 43 wrecks for the entire year.

Although it is hard to pinpoint why the number of wrecks has increased this year, Clanton Police Department Capt. Neil Fetner said there could be multiple reasons.

“There is a wide gamut to contributing factors for wrecks on the interstate,” Fetner said. “Highway conditions, inclement weather, texting while driving, driving too fast and driving while being tired or fatigued are some of the primary reasons people crash.”

Working together

Stilwell said CPD has an agreement with the Alabama State Troopers that CPD will respond and investigate all wrecks occurring on I-65 between the 205 and 212 exits.

The Jemison Police Department responds to any wrecks occurring near I-65 Exit 219.

The troopers will respond to anything outside of those I-65 exits including wrecks that occur in Verbena and other parts of Chilton County.

Stilwell said the agreement was primarily based on the fact the troopers were being dispatched to wrecks on I-65 in Chilton County from other counties in Alabama, delaying a response time.

“We told the troopers that we can get the portions of I-65 near the Clanton exits addressed and work all of those traffic crashes,” Stilwell said. “They will help us out if we need them to and we will go help them out if they need assistance in a different part of Chilton County.”

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