Tragic accident becomes a personal story for Calera resident

By MOLLIE BROWN / Community Columnist

The accident at Interstate 65 exit 228 on July 5, one week after ALDOT held a meeting in which the exit was included on a map of future improvements, was tragic. But it became personal when a victim, Shane Garrison, was related to a resident of our community, Barbara Gray.

Shelby resident Shane Garrison lost his life July 5 in a traffic accident at Interstate 65 exit 228 in Calera. (contributed)

Gray’s cousin sustained massive injuries in the accident. She kept us posted on Facebook of Garrison’s condition until he passed Tuesday, July 10.

“Lots of people were praying for Shane,” Gray said. “Since his death, lots of condolences have been posted on my wall. People in Columbiana knew him because he grew up there and went to Shelby County High School.”

At the time of his death, William “Shane” Garrison lived in Shelby. He was the son of Luther “Luke” Garrison, longtime resident of Columbiana, and Margaret Holliday of Alabaster. Luther and Gray’s mother, Dora Hanks, were siblings. Garrison is survived by three sisters: Veronica Lee, Jennifer Lambert and Stacy Carden; one brother, Luther “Bubba” Garrison; and many nieces and nephews.

Garrison was a volunteer fireman with Columbiana after graduating high school. He considered it a privilege to carry the department’s phone and help others. At the time of the accident, Garrison and the driver of the vehicle, Donald Hughes, who survived the accident, were doing renovation work at the VA Medical Center in Birmingham.

Shane loved to sing karaoke. His personal favorites were “The Dance” by Garth Brooks and “The Chair” by George Strait. It was known that Shane would sing to the ladies from memory. He loved to make everyone laugh, always witty and ready to smile. Since he was the “baby” of the family, he was spoiled and never let his siblings forget it.

“I appreciate the concern expressed by people in the community,” Gray said. “The improvements to the exit can’t come soon enough.”

ALDOT reports the bid opening date for the exit improvements is scheduled for Sept. 28, with construction expected to begin by mid-November. In the meantime, the Alabama State Troopers will provide increased highway patrol activity in the area.


Mollie Brown can be reached at