Alabama state senator seriously injured in Fourth of July personal watercraft accident with son, police say

Published 3:00 pm Friday, July 5, 2024

An Alabama State senator was injured Thursday afternoon in personal watercraft accident with his adult son, state police said Friday.

Sen. Garlan E. Gudger Jr., 49, of Cullman, was injured Thursday when the 2024 Sea-Doo GTI personal watercraft (PWC) he was operating was struck in the rear by a 2019 Sea-Doo GTI PWC operated by Garlan E. Gudger III, 21, also of Cullman.

The collision caused both men to be thrown into the water, however, both Gudger Jr., and Gudger III were wearing personal flotation devices (PFDs).

Bystanders in the area assisted the father and son out of the water and transported them to a nearby dock.

Garlan E. Gudger Jr., was evaluated by local emergency medical services personnel (EMS) and was subsequently transported via helicopter to the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Hospital for medical treatment.

Garlan E. Gudger III was also evaluated by local EMS personnel but was released at the scene.

The incident occurred in Little Crooked Creek area (also known as Rock Creek) on Lewis Smith Lake near Crane Hill in Cullman County. The Crane Hill Fire Department and Cullman EMS both responded to the scene and assisted with medical treatment and transport.