Police officials were among those stuck on I-65

Local police officials were among the hundreds of motorists stuck on Interstate 65 on Tuesday after a winter storm blew across the state.

Clanton Police Chief Brian Stilwell, Jemison Police Chief Shane Fulmer and Clanton Police Capt. Neil Fetner were on their way to a police training conference in Huntsville when the storm struck, leaving them stranded on the highway as traffic came to a standstill.

“You couldn’t get anywhere,” Stilwell said. “18-wheelers couldn’t get up the hill at Red Mountain Expressway, so they would slide back down and jackknife. Then, you had people abandoning their cars and walking to exits.

“So we were stuck. It was bad. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

At about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, a Clanton Police officer driving one of the department’s 5-ton military-style vehicles was able to navigate the icy roadways and rescue the three police officials.

Stilwell said they made it home about 4 a.m.

The large military vehicles were also used to rescue motorists stranded on Chilton County roadways, Stilwell said.

“I think we got every motorist off the road,” he said. “Our roads are still icy; people need to stay at home.”

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