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Special to the News
Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s (ALEA) Troopers investigated four traffic deaths and three marine-related events (drownings) during this past Memorial Day weekend travel period, which began at 12:01 a.m. Friday, May 27, and ended at midnight Monday, May 30.
During the extended holiday, three drivers and one motorcyclist were killed in traffic crashes on Alabama roadways. Although two were not using seat belts at the time of their crashes, one person was buckled up, and the motorcyclist was using a helmet. The fatal crashes occurred in Dallas, Shelby, St. Clair, and Tuscaloosa counties.
ALEA Secretary Hal Taylor said, “Notifying the next of kin following a fatal crash or drowning is a responsibility Troopers dread most, particularly during a fun-filled holiday weekend. We cannot stress enough the importance of simply buckling up and practicing good driving and boating behaviors.”
Troopers within ALEA’s Marine Patrol Division investigated three marine-related fatalities (drownings) and experienced zero boating fatalities on Alabama waterways during the same holiday period.
As in years past, Troopers within Highway Patrol and Marine Patrol divisions spent the weekend patrolling, but this year, ALEA took safety a step further and partnered its Aviation Unit with Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Fire departments to assist with a Summer Rescue Swimmer detail throughout Memorial Day weekend, utilizing the aircraft to conduct beach safety flights and patrolling areas where lifeguards were not available.
ALEA Aviation received and responded to seven calls for service in which rescue swimmers were deployed from the aircraft a total of three times. During the three deployments, a total of 16 distressed swimmers were rescued.
“We are extremely grateful for the partnership with our local first responders who coordinated this specific detail, along with our Aviation Unit to prevent the loss of life on Alabama’s scenic beaches,” said Secretary Taylor. “The success of this rapid response detail is a true testament to the dedication of all first responders involved over the holiday weekend who worked diligently together for the common cause of saving lives in our great state.”
Over the Memorial Day weekend, the agency also kicked off its “101 Days of Safety,” during which it will utilize an assortment of platforms and partnerships with local first responders to implement and convey a variety of safety initiatives, along with tips and messages to keep your loved ones safe throughout the summer season.
Director of ALEA’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) Colonel Jimmy Helms said, “This past weekend is only the beginning. We want all of Alabama’s citizens and visitors to make safety a top priority throughout the season. While we recognize and understand motorists are eager to reach their favorite vacation destination, we cannot stress enough how essential it is to have a pre-trip checklist, know before you go and take certain safety precautions on the roadways and waterways because even the slightest amount of inattention can have tragic consequences.”