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July 5, 2013

Walker Co. hospital evacuated after bomb threat (Update)

Highway 69 closed, woman gives birth in parking lot

Walker Baptist Hospital was evacuated and all bridges were closed along Alabama Highway 69 in Walker County due to bomb threats received around 8:30 a.m. on Friday.

As hospital patients were being evacuated to designated areas, a woman reportedly gave birth in a neighboring parking lot. Officials said patients were returned to the hospital hours later when authorities completed a sweep of the facilities.

Authorities took much longer in reopening Highway 69 because the bomb threat did not specify which bridge had been targeted. With assistance from various agencies, each bridge on Highway 69, from Jasper to Tuscaloosa, and Jasper to Cullman County was searched. The road was completely open by 2:30 p.m.

The caller told authorities that bombs had been planted at both the hospital and on a bridge along the highway, said  Regina Myers, interim director of the Walker County Emergency Management Agency.

Jasper Police Chief Connie Rowe also confirmed there were two separate bomb threats. A preliminary sweep was done by police, followed with a sweep by the Critical Incident Response Team involving three bomb canines.

The Jasper Fire Department blocked-off bridges within their coverage areas on Highway 69.

Investigators said they were continuing to follow leads concerning who phoned in the bomb threats. No arrests or additional information was available at press time.

Lauren Estes can be reached at laurene@cullmantimes.com or 256-734-2131, ext. 137.

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