Hwy 119 in Pelham reopens after suspicious package investigation

PELHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — UPDATE 12:30 PM THURSDAY: Pelham Police say just after noon, the suspicious package was rendered safe with the help of the Hoover bomb squad. According to Chief Larry Palmer, two coolers were placed against a traffic control box.

“Our initial determination it’s not an explosive device it did have a lot of indicators in it. There will be an investigation that will continue. It is a criminal matter whoever left the device on the side of the road, it is a crime,” said Pelham police Chief Larry Palmer. He adds,” If you place a device whether it be a hoax or not to disrupt a community you have created the crime of a terrorist threat.”

Palmer did not say what was inside the coolers.

Hwy 119 has reopened as of 1:10 p.m.

ORIGINAL: Part of Cahaba Valley Road/Hwy 119 is closed Thursday morning while police investigate suspicious packages, and some businesses have been evacuated.

Officials confirmed to CBS42 they are investigating suspicious packages in that area. The closed area includes from Cracker Barrel to Applebee’s (State Park Road to South Gate).

According to Pelham Police Chief Palmer, there are two coolers sitting outside near the Taco Bell that witnesses report have been there since Wednesday evening.

“At about 6:45 we received a call from a motorist of a suspicious package here on Hwy 119. Units responded and located the package,” explained Pelham Police Chief Palmer. “We took precautions just because of the placing of the packages and the look of the packages. We started going through our protocol, we started to develop indicators that it might have a potential hazardous device.”

“The indicators are continuing to pop up that may have a device,” Palmer said. “There’s indicators we look for, and when they start to appear, we’re going to take that extra step, that extra concern. It may be a hoax and it probably is, but because of the location…it’s necessary in this day and age that we take these precautions.”

About a dozen businesses in the area were affected by the precautionary evacuations. The Hoover bomb squad is on the scene, and Palmer emphasized they are taking extra precautions to keep everyone safe.

Real Time Traffic 42 anchor Rachel Lundberg says depending on where you are coming from, you’ll need to get on Hwy 31 or I-65 to bypass the scene.

Pelham Police posted an update at 10:45 a.m., saying as soon as it is safe for them to reopen the road they will, but until then please avoid the area if you can.

CBS42 has a crew on the scene and will update you right here as this story develops.

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