Etowah Commission candidate hospitalized after possible attack

(Source: Dixon Hayes/WBRC)
(Source: Dixon Hayes/WBRC)
(Source: Lana Gaskin Bellew)
(Source: Lana Gaskin Bellew)

RAINBOW CITY, AL (WBRC) - A woman running for the Etowah County Commission was found with multiple injuries at her Rainbow City home.

And police are trying to determine if she was attacked or tripped and fell.

Republican County Commission candidate Lana Gaskin Bellew is believed to have suffered her injuries in her driveway. She was found in her garage Sunday night.

"We talked to some neighbors who had heard a scream, at somewhere around 6:48 to 6:50 p.m., but they'd seen nothing, or heard anything other than that scream," said Rainbow City Police Chief Jonathon Horton.

Bellew confirmed to WBRC that she was attacked.

Horton says Lana Bellew had returned home from putting up campaign signs, then got a dog from her neighbor's house to bring home. She'd left the motor running on the pickup she was driving.

At that point Sunday evening she either tripped or was shoved into the front bumper of her pickup truck.

"There was some blood stains that appeared to be on the concrete in front of the bumper of the truck where the makeup was found on the bumper," Horton says. "There was a small trail of blood that led to the garage where she was found."

She tried calling her ex-husband and 911, but ultimately contacted state representative Mack Butler and his wife Connie. Butler is a reserve deputy in Etowah County. Bellew confirmed to WBRC she first called 911, then her phone automatically dials her next two numbers listed for In Case of Emergency.

"If she fell, she would have to have fallen with such force. And the very first thing she said to me was she was pushed, now Connie says when she called us, she used the word attacked, she had been attacked," Butler told WBRC by phone from Montgomery.

Bellew suffered a broken arm and other injuries. Bellew confirmed to WBRC she needed a metal plate and 13 screws for her broken arm. Bellew's sister, Nita Gasking Stone, said on Facebook she is expected to be released from a Huntsville hospital in time for her daughter's wedding.

All of this happened some two weeks after someone broke into her garage and stole some campaign signs, according to a report filed at the Rainbow City Police Department.

Still, a neighbor, Sherry Jackson, speaks highly of Bellew.

"Ever since I moved here, I've been knowing her. She's a wonderful person. She's like, do the ACT classes and all that stuff," says Williams, incidentally the mother of former Auburn football star Carnell "Cadillac" Williams.

Williams also describes the neighborhood as mostly peaceful. But Butler says in addition to the break-in of Bellew's garage, people have been ringing her doorbell at odd hours. Horton also acknowledges someone stole a car from a nearby home recently, but police caught the thieves that night.

Political candidates play important roles in this story. Representative Mack Butler is running as a Republican for the state senate this year, and even police chief Jonathon Horton is running for sheriff, against incumbent Todd Entrekin, in the Republican primary.

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