Cooler checks among new safety measures at Stony Lonesome Park after fatal crash


New safety changes are coming to Stony Lonesome Park in Cullman County.

The changes are being made after 21-year-old Hannah Bates died after the ATV she was riding in flipped. She was not wearing her seat belt.

Bates' death is the third at the Cullman County park in less than a year.

Tuesday, the county commission ended a two week ban on coolers in the park, but announced mandatory cooler checks at the gate. Park employees will also make periodic checks while people are out on the trails.

Cullman County Park Director Doug Davenport says he ordered new cameras to be mounted at the park entrance, which can be used to monitor the cooler inspections.

Lionel Bates has his daughter on his mind as he now pushes for more safety changes the park.

“She was such a loving, caring and popular person,” Bates described.

Now, her death has her dad asking what more can be done.

“I just hate to see another family lose a child like I did,” said Bates.

Bates supports new mandatory cooler inspections for alcohol.

“That’s something that should have been enforced way before now,” said Bates. “It’s too late for my daughter and alcohol is a big factor with the driver.”

Bates made a list of his own recommendations for the county commission to consider implementing. His list includes installing lights, cameras, a booster for cell service and concrete helicopter pads.

Bates is also requesting an ambulance on site, as well as trained medical staff and enforcement personnel.

Davenport also sees a need for change. He's looking into the costs of adding paramedics, deputies and security guards.

Extra patrols are an idea Bates supports.

“That’s something that should have already been enforced,” said Bates. “They have a referee with a whistle at the skating rink and a lifeguard at the swimming pools so I would think they would have somebody conducting business there.”

Cullman County Commissioner Garry Marchman tells ABC 33/40 the commission is looking at more enforcement of the rules and potential policy adjustments for the park.

Marchman says they're looking at how to improve response times, like adding EMS.

He's also looking at hiring a private security team during peak times for tasks like cooler inspections and to help ensure helmet and seatbelt guidelines are being followed.

Marchman expects discussion of these ideas at the next work session in two weeks.

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