Death of longtime mayor from COVID-19 stuns Alabama town

Sep 4, 2020


Don Driver, the younger brother of the late Mayor Billy Joe Driver, holds a photo of the longtime public official after a memorial service in Clanton, Ala., on Friday, Aug. 28, 2020.
Credit Associated Press

CLANTON, Ala. (AP) — The death of a longtime mayor has brought about a reckoning in the Alabama town where he spent his entire life.

Residents around Clanton, Alabama, thought of COVID-19 as a distant threat until Mayor Billy Joe Driver died of the illness at age 84 in July.

Residents say they're now more intentional about wearing masks. And older people look askance at others who don't follow health guidelines to guard against the new coronavirus.

Driver served as mayor of the town of 8,000 people for 36 years before his death in July. A memorial was held for him recently at a senior center where he ate lunch weekly.