Large police presence in Bessemer, escaped convict in custody


BESSEMER, Ala. (WIAT) — UPDATE 12 p.m. Suspect John Kaleb Gillespie of Decatur, Alabama, is in the Hoover City Jail with a total bond of $1,000. He has been charged with attempting to elude police ($500) and resisting arrest ($500).

The passenger in his car, a 16-year-old that was reported missing, is also in the Hoover City Jail. She has been charged with resisting arrest and will be transferred to Jefferson County Family Court.

Hoover has released more information regarding this morning’s police chase leading to a wreck and arrest at Exit 1:

Police state that at 5 a.m. this morning, a Hoover police officer on patrol spotted a vehicle containing a male and female in the parking lot of Hampton Inn on John Hawkins Parkway.

The officer approached the duo and spoke to the driver, who then drove away at high speed.

Police discovered that the driver was an escaped inmate from Morgan County, 30-year-old John Kaleb Gillespie. Riding with Gillespie was a runaway teen from Moulton, Alabama.

Officers lost sight of the vehicle but found it again on John Hawkins Parkway, attempting a traffic stop. Gillespie refused to stop and a pursuit ensued onto I-459 South.

When attempting to get off on Exit 1, Gillespie lost control of his vehicle. Both the teen and Gillespie took off on foot. Police caught the teen after a brief chase.

Watch: Drone video of Gillespie’s capture

Officers created a perimeter and Hoover officers deployed a drone to assist in locating the suspect. The drone operator located Gillespie walking behind an industrial building and saw him get into an unlocked car.

The drone operator was able to lead Bessemer police officers and Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputies to Gillespie’s location where they took him into custody.


The male suspect, of Morgan County, is in custody.

The teenage girl that was with the suspect is also in custody.

This is a developing story, check back for updates.

Bessemer police are on the scene near the ramp from Eastern Valley Road to I-459 Southbound. According to Chief Roper of Bessemer Police, officers are searching for an escaped convict that started a chase. The suspect had a teenage girl with him.

Hoover police, who are assisting, pursued the escaped convict until he wrecked on Exit 1.

The area of I-459 Southbound and Eastern Valley Road is currently blocked.


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