Cullman man dies following numerous reports of reckless driving, crash

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CULLMAN, Ala. – A man died Saturday night following a wreck after numerous reports of reckless driving. Cullman County Coroner Jeremy L. Kilpatrick identified the victim as Martin Heath Stallings, 41, of Cullman.

“At around 8:52 p.m. last night, dispatch started receiving calls about a reckless driver in a pickup truck coming into town on (Highway) 278 East,” said Cullman Police Chief Kenny Culpepper, “numerous calls, one of which reported that the truck had lost a tire, had lost a wheel, and was all over the road. The vehicle continued to Highway 31 and turned north, and reports continued about the reckless driving and running vehicles off the road, one of which was close to the Shrimp Basket area. It continued north and collided with a vehicle close to Moss-Service (Funeral Home). It then left that scene and continued north and ran into a utility pole at Highway 157.”

Culpepper said officers arrived at the scene shortly after or right as the vehicle made impact.

“The driver was not cooperative and appeared to be under the influence and was placed in handcuffs,” he said. “Medical personnel were called to the scene of the accident to check him out. One of the officers in fire/medics noticed that he’d quit breathing and started doing CPR. He was transported to CRMC (Cullman Regional), where he was pronounced dead.”

Culpepper said the investigation has been turned over to the State Bureau of Investigation.

“Since he was in our custody at that time when he’d been taken out of the car and handcuffed, as part of our policies and procedures, we called in the State Bureau of Investigation to come in and do an investigation on their part, an independent investigation.”

The chief said no one else was injured.

“The accident scene investigators started backtracking and found marks on the road where the wheel had indeed come off. The followed the rim markings on the highway out 278, onto 157 back toward the hospital, so it was a long distance it was traveled on the rim,” he said. “That would explain why you’re all over the road, because it’s very difficult to control.”

Culpepper said anything further will come through the State Bureau of Investigation.

“We did request an autopsy,” he said.

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Wendy Sack

wendy@cullmantribune.com