Southside police say language barrier contributed to report of threat Friday, closing road

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For a brief time Friday morning, there was a large law enforcement presence and Alabama Highway 77 was shut down between Southside and Ohatchee as police dealt with an incident involving an 18-wheeler and its driver.

The incident, Southside Police Capt. Jay Freeman said, turned out to be a misunderstanding of sorts, with a language barrier contributing to the problem.

A truck driver had pulled over at Kitchens Express Lane and he got into a heated phone call with a supervisor who was overseas.

"He was upset at the trucking company," Freeman said, "and somehow that got communicated as a threat to the public."

At about 8:15 a.m., police got a call reporting the threat from an armed man in an 18-wheeler.

Southside police responded with assistance from other agencies and set up a perimeter around the store, shutting down the roadway — something communicated to the public by Gadsden/Etowah County Emergency Management Agency and Etowah 9-1-1 via social media.

Freeman said police made contact with the driver and learned there was no threat to the public. "He cooperated fully," Freeman said, coming to City Hall to talk to officers.

There were no arrests, no injuries — and police ultimately learned, no threat.

"We responded appropriately to the report we had," Freeman said, and there fortunately was a safe ending to the incident. He said the quick assistance from surrounding agencies was appreciated.

This article originally appeared on The Gadsden Times: Southside police: Misunderstanding led to report of threat Friday