By Trent Moore and David Palmer
The Cullman Times
Authorities now believe the bomb threat that had law enforcement scrambling to evacuate and search Cullman Regional Medical Center late Sunday night was only a diversion for an escaped convict’s planned attack on a Holly Pond woman.
At approximately 12:30 a.m. Monday morning, the Cullman County Sheriff’s Office arrested Jeremy Lewayne Lang, of Marshall County, who authorities believe to be the man who called in a bomb threat at CRMC and two other North Alabama hospitals. An Arab police official told The Times that Lang escaped from the Arab Jail at 8:30 p.m. Sunday night, when workers were moving inmates from one area of the facility to another.
The bomb threats were called in to a 911 operator in Marshall County at approximately 8:30 p.m., and investigators believe the threats were meant to distract authorities while Lang tracked down a former girlfriend in the Holly Pond area.
“Looking at what we know, we believe it would have been for a diversion,” Cullman Police Assistant Chief Craig Green said. “We believe he was trying to refocus law enforcement in Cullman and Marshall counties so he could make it from point A to point B.”
Authorities say they do not believe Lang has any connection to the Cullman hospital, or any other hospital.
Lang was arrested at the intersection of County Roads 1804 and 1802 in the Holly Pond area. Cullman County Sheriff Mike Rainey said deputies had staked out the location after reportedly learning Lang might attempt to harm someone.
“After he escapes from the Arab City Jail, he called his girlfriend in the Joppa community and told her he was going to kill her,” Rainey said. “We were waiting on him.”
Lang reportedly hitched a ride with some unsuspecting motorists, and he was with them when authorities swarmed the vehicle and made the arrest. When Lang was apprehended, he was reportedly in possession of a gas can, a cigarette lighter and a siphoning hose.
Lang was previously charged with arson in Cullman County in a different case, and is now being held at the Cullman County Detention Center on $50,000 cash bond. Rainey said additional charges are likely forthcoming.
Green said investigators plan to question Lang about the bomb threat case Tuesday. Police had originally planned to interview Lang on Monday, but Green said investigators are waiting until they have possession of the 911 call tape and details on any other charges Lang might be facing. Monday was a state holiday, Confederate Memorial Day, which made it difficult for authorities to obtain all the necessary files and documents.
“We want to put all the pieces of the puzzle together before we talk to him,” Green said.
Lang was brought to the Marshall County jail recently after he was extradited from Florida because of multiple harrassing communications charges, Shane Washburn, assistant Arab police chief said.
* The Associated Press contributed to this report.
* Trent Moore can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com, or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 220.