April-June 2011: Mom accused of shooting sons; twisters strike Alabama; Peach Festival to remember

Published 5:18 pm Thursday, December 29, 2011

Editor’s note: Between now and Tuesday, The Clanton Advertiser will revisit some of the top stories of 2011. Below are memorable stories from April through June.


Boy, 14, arrested on drug charges
A 14-year-old boy was arrested April 12 for allegedly trying to sell drugs in Clanton City Park. He was charged with attempting to commit a controlled substance crime and taken to the Lee County Juvenile Detention center. Clanton police officers found the juvenile with two baggies he was trying to pass off as crack cocaine, Clanton Police Chief Brian Stilwell said. The drugs actually turned out to be crushed pills of an undetermined origin.

Board said no to uniforms
A proposed countywide school uniform policy failed in a 3-to-4 vote by the Chilton County Board of Education on April 19. However, individual schools are still allowed to keep any uniform policies already in place, which Isabella and Jemison High School decided to do.

Molotov cocktail thrown at apartment door
A Molotov cocktail, thrown at a Rolling Oaks apartment door, was extinguished overnight April 24 before it could spread beyond the unit’s door. The bottle that was used was recovered and had some kind of oil-based accelerant in it.

Tornadoes strike Alabama
No one was injured in Chilton County during Alabama’s deadly tornado outbreak on April 27. However, trees were blown over onto a house on Fourth Avenue in Clanton and two mobile homes were damaged in Verbena. It would later be determined that straight-line winds did the damage in Clanton, while a small tornado touched down near Verbena.

A tree fell on this house on Fourth Avenue following the storms of April 27. This damage was caused by straight-line winds, but Verbena did see a EF-0 tornado that evening, the last one of the day in Alabama.

Relay for Life raises $160k
Despite the devastating storms of April 27, the Chilton County Relay for Life raised more than $160,000 just two days later for cancer awareness, prevention and patient support.

Weather service confirms Verbena tornado
Though Chilton County was spared the brunt of the April storms, the county will always have a unique place in the history of that day. The last tornado of April 27 touched down around 9:45 p.m. near the intersection of U.S. 31 and County Road 24. It stayed on the ground just a few minutes, damaging a carport, mobile home and knocking down several trees.


Local first responders answer the call
Many of Chilton County’s finest responded to help storm victims in the days after the tornadoes. Clanton Police Chief Brian Stilwell worked in Cordova and said at the time, “You see so many pictures on TV, but it’s worse when you get over there.” Local churches and civic organizations also raised needed supplies and aid money.

Two men die in crash near Stanton
A single-vehicle wreck May 7 just past Stanton on Alabama 22 claimed the lives of two Plantersville men: Daniel Sims, 27, and Jason Edward Lester, 32.

Maplesville unveils new website
The town of Maplesville unveiled its new website in May, townofmaplesville.com. An action center page on the site lets residents report problems like malfunctioning traffic lights, potholes or broken water mains and give feedback on different things.

Jemison holds Mayfest
Country music singer David Ball headlined Jemison’s Mayfest on May 14. The free event featured other acts as well as arts and crafts and food vendors. City leaders want to make the festival an annual event.

Obie Littleton passes away
Obie J. Littleton, Clanton’s former economic development director and state senator, died May 17. He was 79. Littleton was elected to two terms in the Alabama Senate in the 1970s.

Overturned truck causes traffic nightmare
Interstate 65 was closed from Exit 212 and 219 for several hours May 21 after a fuel tanker overturned. The truck’s driver was carried to a hospital with minor injuries, but getting the truck right-side-up and cleaning up the little fuel that did spill took most of the night, causing traffic along U.S. 31 to be as bad as anyone could remember.


Church arson suspects sentenced to prison
The three men involved in the burglary and arson of Providence Baptist Church in June 2008 were sentenced to prison terms. Bryan Christopher Henry and Billy Sherrell Ray both will serve at least two years of a 10-year sentence. They were found guilty of burglary and theft. Marcus Allen Brasher, who admitted taking part in the burglary and cooperated with authorities, was sentenced to one year in prison. Due to time served, Brasher faced no additional jail time.

Mom charged with shooting sons, killing one
Ann Campbell was arrested June 3 and charged with shooting her two sons, killing one. Her 11-year-old son, Michael Campbell, died after being transported to UAB. Her 15-year-old survived being shot in the thigh. The shootings happened in the family’s mobile home on County Road 69 in the Enterprise community. Campbell is currently in the Chilton County Jail awaiting trial on charges of murder and attempted murder.

Michael Campbell, 11, died June 3 from gunshot wounds after being airlifted to UAB. The boy’s mother, Ann Campbell, was arrested and charged with murder.

Dari Delite North closes
The Dari Delite North restaurant in Clanton closed in June after owner Ruth Mims-Short decided to move ieverything into one location, Dari Delite South, further down U.S. 31. All the recipes that the North landmark was famous for, especially the Broaster chicken, were added to the South restaurant’s menu.

Drug raid yields 5 arrests, 19 labs
Five arrests were made and 19 meth labels uncovered during a drug raid June 8 near Maplesville. Those arrested on various charges were William Donald Avery, Natasha Dawn Endress, Angela Robin Kilgore, Kayla Renee Shivers and Charles Browden Rigsby.

Drew Roy stars in TNT show
Clanton native Drew Roy got a break out role in TNT’s “Falling Skies,” which debuted June 19. In the series, Roy plays a high school student who is among the limited population left following an alien invasion. Noah Wyle (of ER fame) portrays his dad on the show. In July, the series was picked up for a second season, to air in the summer of 2012.

New Peach Queens crowned
The last week of June saw four new Peach Queens crowned. New Peach Royalty included Little Miss Peach Halle Sullivan, Young Miss Peach Grace Nolen, Junior Miss Peach Lexi Gray and Peach Queen Jill Vinzant. In a unique twist on this year’s pageants, Vinzant and Nolen will again be “Peach Sisters.” The pair previously was chosen Junior Miss Peach and Little Miss Peach, respectively, in 2009.

Bike ride benefits Newman family
A motorcycle ride held June 18 had more than 80 participants and raised more than $2,400 for Josh Newman’s family. Newman was a Jemison police officer who died in a car accident during heavy rains in March while responding to another wreck with injuries to children.

Two drown on Coosa
Two men drowned June 21 at Mitchell Dam. A 14-year-old boy survived after being given the only life jacket on the boat. The three got into trouble after their boat began taking on water and sank about midnight. The men, who included the boy’s 32-year-old father, drowned on the Lake Jordan side of the dam.

Davis returns to Peach Festival
Former Peach Festival chairman Richard Davis served as grand marshal for the 2011 Peach Parade on June 25. Davis chaired the Clanton Lions Club’s Peach Fest Committee every year from 1998 until an illness sidelined him in 2009.

Then newly crowned Peach Queen Jill Vinzant waves to the crowd during the Peach Parade.

Knight Farms win again
Mark and Melissa Knight made it four years in a row when peaches from M&M Farms won the first place ribbon in this year’s Peach Auction. Peoples Southern Bank bought the blue ribbon basket for $1,900. Jerry Harrison grew the second place basket, which was bought by the Chilton County Farmers’ Federation for $1,600. The third place basket was grown by Henry and Suzanne Williams and sold to Clanton Tractor for $800. In all, $13,900 was raised to benefit the Clanton Lions Club’s charitable work in the community.