Two charged with attempted murder robbery after school teacher hurt

By Ken Curtis

Published 06/09 2014 03:39PM

Updated 06/12 2014 09:22AM

Two men face attempted murder and robbery charges for injuring a school teacher while trying to steal a boat trailer at a Lake Eufaula campground. Henry County Sheriff Will Maddox identified them as Mason Cole Battles, 22, and Judson Walton Buchanan, 19. Both are residents of Houston County. Battles is the son of Houston County Commissioner Jackie Battles.

Maddox said the men were using a golf cart to try and steal a boat trailer at the Hardridge Creek recreation area in northwest Henry County when the incident occurred early Sunday. When Kelly Efurd Whitehurst, tried to stop them she was struck by the trailer and pinned underneath. Friends say the Rehobeth elementary teacher underwent hip surgery at a Dothan hospital and is expected to recover.

Dothan businessman Tim Hawkins said he was asleep in his nearby camper when the incident occurred early Sunday morning. “I ran immediately and went around the corner and (Mrs. Whitehurst’s) husband was yelling at them to stop,” he said. Hawkins said he believes Battles and Buchanan cut electricity to his camper a short time earlier and that awakened him.

The two men appeared Monday afternoon before a Henry County judge where they were each formally charged with the crimes and held on $260,000 bond. It is expected both will be released as soon as bail paperwork can be completed.

“It’s real fortunate that it wasn’t any worse that it was,” Hawkins said. “What happened to her hip could have happened to her head.”

(Video of Battles and Buchanan appearing in court will be posted soon)

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