Crime Man charged with manslaughter in death at Stony Lonesome OHV Park | The Cullman Tribune


Man charged with manslaughter in death at Stony Lonesome OHV Park

Walter John Cornelius III / Cullman County Sheriff's Office

CULLMAN - A man has been charged with manslaughter in connection with the death of 21-year-old Hannah Nicole Bates. Walter John Cornelius III, 29, of Altoona was arrested on Tuesday, March 6.

Bates was killed in an incident at Stony Lonesome OHV Park on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018. She was a passenger in a RZR 900, an off-road vehicle, that flipped. Cornelius was the driver. According to the Cullman County Sheriff's Office, Cornelius was allegedly intoxicated by alcohol at the time of the crash.

He was placed in the Cullman County Detention Center on a $20,000 bond and has since been released.

Stony Lonesome is a park for OHV, or "off-highway vehicles." It is owned by Cullman County and operated by Cullman County Parks and Recreation (CCP&R).

“It happened within minutes of the park closing, I think they were probably on their way back to check out,” Doug Davenport, CCP&R director, told The Tribune the night of the crash.

Davenport said the wreck occurred on a hill on one of the designated trails.

According to Davenport, where the wreck happened, “It doesn’t look like speed or anything would be a factor.”

“It’s a tragic event. There wasn’t a race.”

Davenport said it appeared the victim was not wearing a seat belt.

The Cullman County Commission reacted to the incident swiftly, approving several rule changes for Stony Lonesome on Tuesday, Feb. 27.  Davenport was at the meeting  to outline the new rules at the park, including: no coolers on the trails, required safety harnesses and seat belts and a stricter wristband policy.

Bates's death was the third at the park in less than a year. Back on April 22, 2017, Lawrence Richey, 34, of Smiths Grove, Kentucky and Erin Duncan, 22, of Elkins, Arkansas were killed as the result of an ATV crash.

Stony Lonesome is located at 10075 Alabama Highway 69 South in Bremen.

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  • Walter John Cornelius III