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ALEA releases details on Sen. Gudger’s jet-ski accident

Sen. Garlan Gudger, R-Cullman, was injured on Smith Lake Thursday afternoon when the jet-ski he was operating was struck from behind by a jet-ski driven by his son, Garlan Gudger III.

Both men, ages 49 and 21, were wearing flotation devices and were thrown into the water, according to a press release from the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency. 

The accident happened around 3:15 p.m.

“Bystanders in the area assisted both individuals out of the water and transported them to a nearby dock,” ALEA said in a statement Friday afternoon.

“(Sen. Gudger) was evaluated by local emergency medical services personnel and was subsequently transported via helicopter to the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital for medical treatment. Garlan E. Gudger III was also evaluated by local EMS personnel but was released at the scene.”

Sen. Gudger was in intensive care late Thursday after a “brief surgical procedure to address internal bleeding,” according to a press release from the Alabama Senate. He sustained other injuries that are being monitored. 

Sen. Gudger has been alert and able to talk, sources told Alabama Daily News.

The incident occurred in the Little Crooked Creek area, also known as Rock Creek, on Lewis Smith Lake near Crane Hill in Cullman County. No other information was available from ALEA as the Marine Patrol Division continues to investigate.

Gudger is in his second term in the Alabama Senate. He chairs the Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee.

His wife, Heather Gudger, thanked first responders and medical staff who have assisted Gudger.

“… We offer our deepest thanks and recognition that each of them kept a difficult situation from being even worse,” Heather Gudger said in a statement.

“To those across the state who have reached out and lifted up our family with their prayers of mending and comfort, we feel your support and know that God holds Garlan in his healing hands. Everyone who knows Garlan is aware that he is a strong, tough, and energetic man who will recover from these injuries and continue serving the citizens of his district while promoting the conservative Alabama values that so many of us hold close.”

The Gudgers own Southern Accents, an architectural antiques retailer in Cullman. Garlan Gudger previously served on the Cullman City Council.

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