Chilton takes on 2 manhunts before noon

Published 4:35 pm Monday, July 2, 2018

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Local law enforcement conducted two separate manhunts before noon June 29 in the Chilton County Interstate 65 area.

The first manhunt commenced shortly after midnight near the Chilton/Shelby Counties line.

Two subjects believed to be responsible for throwing rocks off the County Road 51 overpass in Jemison over multiple nights — allegedly striking several vehicles but causing no injury — fled the overpass when a Jemison officer arrived to investigate a report of the disturbance.

The Jemison officer and a Chilton County Sheriff’s Office deputy pursued the vehicle, which ultimately became stuck on property near County Road 151 and was later discovered to be a stolen vehicle from Bibb County.

Upon exiting the vehicle, the subjects fired shots allegedly directed at the officers.

Authorities established a perimeter and periodically shut down portions of I-65 to allow safe crossing for a K-9 unit from the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office.

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency provided a helicopter for the search.

“Right now, we’ve got a person of interest we took into custody down in Thorsby,” Sheriff John Shearon of CCSO said. “We don’t know, as of yet, if he’s going to be one of the ones (involved in the case). We’ve got our suspicions that he might have been, we just don’t know yet. But we do have him in custody on some unrelated warrants.”

As of 2 p.m. on June 29, both subjects remain at large.

Around 9:30 a.m., the Chilton County Sheriff’s Office announced a second, unrelated manhunt in progress at the I-65 North rest area. CCSO, the Clanton Police Department and the ALEA teamed for the pursuit of a suspect described as a black male, around 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighing 180 pounds.

The subject was later identified as Randy Laverne Edwards, 36, who was linked to a theft of several 5-gallon buckets and a bagful of reportedly rare peaches earlier in the day and has four prior Chilton County arrests to his record.

According to Shearon, the subject had initially fled pursuit by a CPD officer in Clanton, speeding to the interstate in a white vehicle and ultimately veering off into the rest area before exiting his car and fleeing on foot into the woods.

The helicopter and dog team that aided in the first pursuit assisted in the search for Edwards.

Clanton police apprehended Edwards on County Road 43 around noon.

Edwards is in the custody of the Chilton County Jail, where he is charged with attempting to elude law enforcement officers, resisting arrest, theft of property in the fourth degree and criminal trespass in the third degree.