A man has been arrested for littering after he placed a box of flowers at his fiancée’s grave in Auburn, Alabama.
Winchester Hagans lost his fiancée, Hannah Ford, 27, in a car crash on January 17th, 2021, the same day the couple visited their future wedding venue in Notasulga, about 12 miles southwest of Auburn.
Hagans said he remembered kissing Ford good-bye as she prepared to drive home to Montgomery, about 45 miles away, she died in a three-vehicle car crash shortly after. It was roughly one month after he popped the question.
“The last things I heard her say were, I love you, and I hate leaving you,” Hagans said.
After her death, Hagans built a flower box filled with her favourite flowers and covered it with engagement pictures for placement at Hannah’s grave at Auburn’s Memorial Park Cemetery. He said he got permission from the city to place the flower box by her grave.
“The people of the city told me they don’t enforce that unless a family member asked for it to be removed.”
Hagans noted the couple had a strained relationship with members of Ford’s family, and someone kept throwing the flowers away while he kept placing them, ‘’the family never directly told me to stay away or stop leaving the flowers’’.
However, last month, as Hagans was on his way back to preach at an east Alabama church, he was pulled over by police for having an expired tag. Hanna’s father, Hayden Ford, had apparently signed a warrant for Hagan’s arrest for criminal littering.
“The officer came back and said there was a warrant out for my arrest, handcuffed me on the side of the road on a Sunday morning. Hagans said he only wanted to honour Ford by leaving the flower box, noting he would build a thousand more if he could, WTVM-
The couple met in 2019 and got engaged in December 2020.
Auburn police released a statement following the arrest: “In Alabama, certain burial plots are owned and controlled by the family of the deceased and therefore are private property. Any citizen has a right to pursue a criminal charge upon showing sufficient probable cause exists to believe a crime has been committed. The individual charged in this case turned himself in to the Auburn Police Department on January 24th, 2022, after a warrant was signed by another citizen,” the statement read, in part.
Trial is set for a date in March 2020.