Cahaba Valley Road reopened after suspicious packages scare

PELHAM – Pelham Police Chief Larry Palmer said the two packages found on Cahaba Valley Road early Thursday morning that caused a portion of the road to shut down for several hours did not contain explosive devices.

According to Pelham police Lt. Pat Cheatwood, food items were found in the two coolers on Cahaba Valley Road. However, Palmer said an investigation into the incident is ongoing.

Palmer said during a press conference that the Pelham Police Department received a call from a motorist about two suspicious coolers placed against a traffic control box on Cahaba Valley Road sometime between 6:30-6:45 a.m. on Thursday, April 13. Some time after the initial call, a portion of Cahaba Valley Road, from Southgate Drive to State Park Road, was closed. The road reopened around 1 p.m.

Palmer said it was the placement of the coolers that raised suspicion, triggering police protocol.

“There are certain indicators that we look for and those started to appear, so we took the next steps,” Palmer said.

Area businesses were evacuated between 7:15-7:20 a.m. and an investigation started.

“There will be further investigation and we are still collecting evidence,” Palmer said. “If you place a device, whether it be a hoax or not, with the intention of disrupting the community you’ve created the crime of a terroristic threat.”

Palmer said no one has been taken into custody in connection with the incident.

Palmer said the Hoover Bomb Squad, Shelby County Hazmat Response Team, Helena Police Department, Alabaster police and fire departments, Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, Alabama State Troopers, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the FBI assisted the Pelham Police Department with handling the situation.

“We had a whole host of partners and it takes that many partners to keep the public safe, and that’s what our objective was for today,” Palmer said. “There’s no way one agency can do it alone. I know I inconvenienced a lot of motorists and a lot of business owners and I want to apologize upfront for that inconvenience, but I also ask them to be patient with me and know that their safety was our top concern.”

Palmer said several thousands of dollars were expended in resources during the investigation.

“The cost to us in man power and equipment, the cost to business owners and the inconvenience to the public – I don’t have a dollar amount, but it would be thousands upon thousands of dollars.”