Tree crushes police car in Alabaster

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

A fallen tree in Alabaster damaged one of the Montevallo Police Department’s newest vehicles April 27 while it was parked at an officer’s residence in the Navajo Hills subdivision.

The incident occurred in the early morning hours while a severe storm moved through Shelby County and produced high winds and heavy rains.

“The officer lives up in Alabaster, and the tree fell and damaged the Montevallo police cruiser and the officer’s personal vehicle,” said Montevallo Police Chief Steve Holt. “It was a 50-foot tree, and probably about the bottom 8 feet fell on the police car.

“It got dinged up pretty good. Unfortunately it was one of our ’09 (Dodge) Chargers that we just bought,” Holt added. “It’s going to take a while to replace that one. But luckily nobody was hurt and the tree didn’t hit the officer’s house.”

Dozens of trees and limbs were blown down across Alabaster in the storm, which struck the city shortly before 6 a.m. The city was briefly placed under a tornado warning, but Alabaster police reported no major damage or injuries from the early morning storm.

“We had many trees down. A lot of that happened in the Navajo Hills area,” Alabaster City Administrator George Henry said at about 1:15 p.m. “We have a tree down on a power line near the intersection of Old Boston (Road) and Navajo Trail, and we are still waiting to get that fixed. Alabama Power is understandably swamped right now.”

Because the storm hit the city shortly before the morning rush hour, emergency crews rushed to clear several trees blocking or partially blocking roadways.

Because the evening hours could bring more severe weather to Alabaster, the city canceled all Parks and Recreation and Senior Center activities planned for the day, closed the library and rescheduled the 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Municipal Court dockets.

The 2 p.m. docket was rescheduled to May 25 for people with last names beginning with A-L, and was rescheduled until June 22 for those with last names beginning with M-Z.

“We canceled pretty much everything that is not emergency related,” Henry said. “We are keeping an eye on everything.”

The early morning storm produced heavier damage in other parts of the Birmingham metropolitan area, including at least two damaged houses in Pelham, several damaged homes in North Shelby and widespread damage in Jefferson County.