Local police agencies deal with New Year’s weekend

Published 5:14 pm Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The New Year’s weekend brought its usual share of alcohol, traffic and domestic related incidents—and one near standoff.

Chilton County Sheriff’s deputies attempted to execute a warrant for Steven Smitherman on Dec. 30 at the request of the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office.

“When deputies responded, he shut the lights off and got a gun,” Sheriff Kevin Davis said. “He took the gun and barricaded himself in the house.”

The county’s SWAT team was called into action, but Smitherman surrendered before the team arrived and with no gunshots being fired.

Davis said Smitherman was in the house 20-30 minutes from the time deputies first arrived until his surrender.

Smitherman, who lived on Highway 82 near the Autauga County line, was arrested with assistance from the Clanton and Maplesville police departments and transferred to the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office.

Davis’ office received another call of a subject barricaded in a home with hostages, but that turned out to be a false report, he said.

“Other than that, we had just typical domestic violence and burglaries,” Davis said. “Anytime around the holidays, you get people off work, and we normally see an increase in that type of stuff.”

Jemison Police Chief Shane Fulmer said his department was busy over the weekend, but there were “no major incidents,” maybe due in part to JPD’s extra patrols.

“It was probably quieter than normal,” Fulmer said.

Thorsby Police Chief Rodney Barnett shared Fulmer’s experience.

“There were some calls—loud music, noise complaints, fireworks,” he said. “That always happens.”

Clanton Police Chief Brian Stilwell said his officers issued 52 citations and 85 written warnings over the weekend—and several of those were alcohol-related offenses.

“It was busy but nothing that we didn’t expect,” he said. “Falling on a weekend makes it busier. I just think families spend too much time with each other and get tired of each other.”

No serious injuries were reported in Clanton.

Statewide, Alabama troopers reported working seven fatal wrecks resulting in seven deaths from 6 p.m. on Dec. 30 through midnight Monday.

The deaths occurred in Lee, Jackson, Limestone, St. Clair and Perry counties, according to a news release.

Troopers said alcohol was not a factor in five of the seven deaths, while the other two deaths remain under investigation.

During this same 78-hour New Year’s holiday travel period last year, troopers investigated six traffic fatalities, according to the release.