LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — 33 miles of roads still bear the mark of a 500-gallon intentional oil spill trail leading from Lawrence County into Decatur city limits, according to authorities.
Keith Allen Clarke and Laura Clarke of Courtland were both found to be responsible for the used motor oil spill and were charged with criminal littering and criminal mischief (damage to public property).
The Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office said around 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 20, the 911 center started receiving several reports of oil on roads in the eastern part of the county. The Caddo-Midway Fire & Rescue and other volunteer departments responded with the Lawrence County Road Department to assess the problem.
Authorities found the extensive, slick trail crossed into Morgan County on County Road 87, taking various roads through Morgan County before entering the city limits of Decatur.
It took 37 tons of sand and burned almost 70 hours of labor spent cleaning up and making the roads safe for drivers, though LCSO Chief Deputy Brian Covington tells News 19 that the spill is still visible on the roads.
Covington also said they believe the oil was “purposely spilt.”
Officials said tips quickly poured in from residents telling officials they had surveillance footage that captured an early 90’s model blue GMC pickup truck pulling a utility trailer with a large container on the back.
The truck with a 500-gallon container full of oil was “randomly driving around the east end of the county,” said the LCSO. “…Discarding the oil on the roadways before finally he had discarded all the oil somewhere around Central Parkway in Decatur.”
The Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division determined Keith Clarke and Laura Clarke were behind the incident. They were taken into custody on May 22, with the help of the Decatur Police Department.
According to the LCSO, more charges are possible in other jurisdictions. Bond has been set at $2500.00 dollars each.
The Alabama Department of Environmental Services was also made aware of the incident.