Alabama state troopers

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley came out to defend the state’s closure of dozens of driver’s license offices after Congresswoman Terri Sewell said she was pursuing a Department of Justice investigation.

Bentley sent a letter to U.S Representative Terri Sewell yesterday responding to Sewell's criticisms. She has asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate since Alabama requires a photo ID to vote. She says the closures disproportionately impact poor and African-American populations.

Eric Parker
Brynn Anderson / Associated Press

Additional witness testimony is expected today in the federal trial of a former Madison police officer accused of using excessive force during a police stop.

Former officer Eric Parker is facing charges of civil rights violations after he seriously injured an Indian grandfather. His trial is scheduled to continue today in Huntsville.

Five years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, tourism hasn’t just recovered on the Gulf Coast – industry officials say it’s surging. They credit the response to that environmental disaster as part of the reason why.

BP spent more than $230 million promoting Gulf Coast tourism after the 2010 spill, and the company aired national commercials promoting the region for years.

The singer who became famous for the song "When a Man Loves a Woman" died yesterday. Percy Sledge had a massive impact on what became known as the "Muscle Shoals sound".

Sledge walked into a recording studio in Alabama's Muscle Shoals region in 1966. In a few weeks, his signature song "When a Man Loves a Woman" would become the first of his five gold records.

Dick Cooper is the Curator of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. He says Sledge's legacy was defined when he was just 25 years old.

Press-Register/Mike Kittrell

Alabama state troopers investigated 10 traffic fatalities during the long Fourth of July weekend.

The troopers report that three of the fatalities were in Lowndes County. There was one fatality each in St. Clair, Coffee, Mobile, Perry, Walker, Monroe and Tuscaloosa counties. One of the fatalities was a pedestrian and four people were killed on motorcycles.

The long weekend began at 6 p.m. Thursday and ended at midnight Sunday. The troopers report they investigated 237 wrecks during that period, and the wrecks involved 123 injuries.

Press-Register/Mike Kittrell

Alabama State Troopers say none of the three people who died in Memorial Day weekend crashes were wearing seatbelts.

Sgt. Steve Jarrett said in a statement Tuesday that state troopers investigated three fatal wrecks between Friday evening and early Monday morning. Jarrett says traffic fatalities were reported in Jackson, Shelby and Wilcox counties.

Jarrett says during last year's Memorial Day weekend travel period, troopers investigated two traffic fatalities involving motorcyclists.

Alabama state troopers handled more than twice as many wrecks as normal during the snow and ice storm that paralyzed parts of the state last week.

Troopers released statistics Tuesday showing officers investigated a total of 731 accidents from Tuesday through Friday. Roads were either frozen over or blocked with abandoned vehicles across a wide area during those days.

Troopers on average would handle about 336 wrecks over a four-day period.

State troopers say nine people died in traffic accidents linked to this week's winter storm in Alabama.

The Department of Public Safety says fatal wrecks happened in six counties: Bullock, Chilton, DeKalb, Elmore, Perry and Tuscaloosa.

Troopers say additional deaths could be added to the storm total once additional wrecks are investigated.

Police say hundreds of wrecks occurred statewide during the storm, which struck Tuesday.

Montgomery Advertiser

Few Alabamians have obtained a new form of identification that many will need in less than a year if they want to take a domestic flight without carrying a passport.

State Trooper spokesman Steve Jarrett says that less than 6,000 of Alabama's licensed drivers have obtained a STAR ID. That stands for Secure, Trusted and Reliable Identification.

Press-Register/Mike Kittrell

Traffic fatalities on Alabama highways increased significantly during the long Thanksgiving holiday period.

Alabama State Troopers report they investigated eight crashes with 11 fatalities. That compared with five deaths during the same holiday period last year.

The fatal crashes occurred in Russell, Madison, Crenshaw, Walker, Autauga, Barbour, Pickens and Talladega counties. Troopers said preliminary investigations indicate alcohol was a factor in at least three deadly crashes, and seven of the 11 victims were not using seat belts.

Alabama Department of Public Safety says motorists can expect to see extra state troopers on the roads during the Labor Day holiday weekend.

   It's part of the national Driver Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign. The extra officers will be out from the beginning of the holiday travel period at 6 p.m. Friday through midnight Monday.

   Eleven people died in highway accidents during the 2012 Labor Day weekend in Alabama.

State troopers and local law enforcement agencies are stepping up patrols during the long Fourth of July holiday weekend.

   Sixty-nine police and sheriff's departments are joining with the state troopers to target drunken drivers and other violators by conducting sobriety checkpoints and additional patrols. Funding from the extra patrols comes from grants awarded by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs and the state Department of Transportation.

Press-Register/Mike Kittrell

Preliminary figures show that 514 people died in state highway accidents investigated by state troopers in 2012.

The numbers were released recently by the Alabama Department of Transportation and the Alabama Department of Public Safety.

State officials said that in 59 percent, or 251 of the statewide fatalities investigated by state troopers, the victims were not wearing seat belts.

A spokesman says Alabama state troopers were caught off guard by last week's snow, which caused an overnight traffic jam on Interstate 65.

Trooper spokesman Curtis Summerville says road conditions worsened faster than officials expected once the snow began coming down.

Summerville tells The Decatur Daily ( ) authorities are looking at ways to do things better in case of a repeat. He says possibilities include using billboard or twitter to inform motorists of blocked roads.