YEAR IN REVIEW: Thorsby mayor passes, hospital closes

Published 10:16 am Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New leadership: The passing of former Thorsby mayor Dearl Hilyer in October 2012 cast a pall over the installing of the new town council the next month. Councilmember Jean Nelson was later appointed mayor.

Editor’s note: Below is the third part of a three-part series looking back at the top news stories of 2012. This installment covers September through December.


Bomb threat causes courthouse evacuation

A bomb threat caused the evacuation of the Chilton County Courthouse on Sept. 6.

Ronald Hester, 44, of Clanton was arrested and charged with making terrorist threats, according to a news release. Police officials said Hester had no explosives, or the means to make any, but might have made the threat in order to avoid a scheduled probation meeting.

Clanton Police Chief Brian Stilwell said the bomb threat occupied numerous detectives, officers and deputies, securing buildings and investigating the threat for more than eight hours.

Someone called a local business about 9:30 a.m. Sept. 6 and said a bomb would be delivered to the Chilton County Probate office after lunch.

Clanton Police officers and Chilton County Sheriff’s deputies secured the area and began an investigation.

The person called the sheriff’s office shortly before 10 a.m. and said the bomb would be delivered to the state probation office on Jackson Avenue.

Officers gathered information from telephone providers and were able to track the phone to a residence on County Road 37.

Several suspects were brought to CPD for questioning, and Hester was subsequently arrested.

The courthouse was evacuated while the investigation was ongoing. Chilton County’s 911 system was operated out of a remote location, and Judge Rhonda Hardesty relocated Department of Human Resources court to Clanton City Hall.


Municipal elections come down to run-offs

Maplesville, Jemison and Thorsby held run-off elections on Oct. 9 and announced the winners of three tied races from municipal elections Aug. 28.

In Maplesville, W.C. Hayes defeated John Caudle for mayor 107–92, or 54 percent to 46 percent.

Hayes received 105 regular votes and two absentee votes for a total of 107 votes.

After serving as a councilman, Hayes served two consecutive terms as mayor of Maplesville, from 2000–2008, and lost re-election in 2008 to now state Rep. Kurt Wallace.

In Jemison, Rex Bittle defeated Rusty Jones for the city council District 4 seat.