FBI Investigating Bentley Administration, Tuscaloosa Focuses on Railroad Safety

May 26, 2016

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley

The former state law enforcement chief who accused Governor Robert Bentley of having an affair with an adviser has been questioned by federal investigators about the governor's administration.

Kenny Mendelsohn, an attorney representing former state law enforcement secretary Spencer Collier, revealed yesterday that the questioning occurred. But he refused to elaborate on what questions investigators asked.

A person close to the Bentley administration who also was questioned by FBI agents told The Associated Press that they asked about the use of state grants and other state resources.

The FBI inquiry is the latest sign of trouble for Governor Bentley, who has been the subject of an impeachment push since admitting to making inappropriate comments to former aide Rebekah Caldwell Mason. He has denied accusations of an affair.

A spokeswoman for the governor declined to comment on the FBI investigation.

The city of Tuscaloosa wants to put the spotlight on safety at railroad crossings today.

The city is meeting with representatives of the non-profit group Operation Lifesaver. They say Alabama has far too many railroad crossing accidents and fatalities, and common sense can help lower those figures. The Federal Railroad Administration puts Alabama at sixth in the nation for collisions between trains and cars, and 14th in the country in terms of fatalities.

Operation Lifesaver’s Nancy Hudson says having crossing gates at railroad tracks doesn’t really help.

“More crashes happen at a crossing with gates and signals, than just with a cross buck sign. Because people see the gates come down, and they think ‘I don’t have time to wait on this train,’ and they try to go, to beat the train, or they drive around the gate.”

A cross buck sign is the “X” shaped sign that reads "railroad crossing". Hudson says Alabama ranks alongside more populated states because of the 6,000 crossings and 3500 miles of railroad track in the state.

Memorial Day is right around the corner, and that means more people on the roads and in the air.

AAA predicts 38 million Americans will hit the road over the Memorial Day holiday, which marks the unofficial start of summer.

Jeanenne Tornatore is a senior editor for Orbitz.com. She says Alabama’s gulf coast will be very popular for people across the country looking for an affordable coastal destination.

“Of course, Alabama’s coast, as well, is very popular. That’s always a big one, and an affordable one for people as well. I mean, a lot of the coastal cities in Alabama like Mobile and close to New Orleans can be very affordable.”

Tornatore says it’s not too late to find good deals at any of the popular destination spots for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, but time is running out.