Crashed truck damages headstones

Published 3:44 pm Friday, October 5, 2012

A truck that careened into a cemetery shared by Zion Ridge Church of God and Mt. Pisgah United Methodist Church damaged about eight headstones.

A driver who ran off the road last weekend harmed more than just the vehicle.

About eight headstones were damaged or destroyed in the Zion Ridge/Mt. Pisgah Cemetery on Chilton County Road 49 by a Dodge Ram plowing into them, according to Sgt. Steve Jarrett with the Alabama Department of Public Safety Public Information Unit.

State Troopers worked the wreck, which happened late on the night of Sept. 29 or early on the morning of Sept. 30.

The truck was found abandoned early Sunday morning. The owner of the vehicle, Jeremiah Johnson, reported later on Sept. 30 that it had been stolen off Candler Street in Clanton.

Pamela Wilson, who attends Zion Ridge Church of God and has many relatives buried in the cemetery, said the headstone marking the grave of her grandfather and grandmother was damaged.

“It was something to see first thing Sunday morning. It was a total shocker,” Wilson said. “We’re not exactly sure how bad it’s damaged because at this time we’re not able to pick it up (because of the ongoing investigation), but we know it’s damaged. Some of the other ones got completely shattered.”

The cemetery is located between Zion Ridge and Mt. Pisgah United Methodist and shared by the two churches. The truck careened about 75 feet into the cemetery, according to Jarrett.

Clanton Police Department is handling the stolen vehicle report.

In the meantime, Wilson and her family are unsure about what they will do with the headstone.

“I guess we’ll just have to repair it as best we can,” she said. “It’s kind of a big family, so we’re hoping we could just kind of pool our money and fix it. That’s our grandma and grandaddy.”