In a bizarre turn of events, a grieving 27-year-old widower has been arrested after putting flowers on his fiancée’s grave. He was shocked to learn who had filed a littering charge against him, knowing that he was going through a difficult phase in his life.
The loss of a loved one, especially if it is someone’s partner, can bring immense pain that sometimes lasts a lifetime. During their time of mourning, friends and family give them space and try not to disturb them unnecessarily.
On the other hand, some people intentionally say and do things that hurt the grieving person. The man in today’s story also went through the same thing when police arrested him for littering because of his heartfelt gesture of leaving flowers on his fiancée’s grave.
A LOVE STORY
When Winston “Winchester” Hagans first spoke to Hannah Ford at a coffee shop in Montgomery, Alabama, he thought she had something special. For the next two months, they “accidentally” continued to sit next to each other in the same cafe.
Hagans and Ford had similar interests. They bonded over classical music and records and shared their love for plants. They even had the same religious interests, helping to strengthen their relationship. Hagans said Ford spoke to him every day. He recalled:
“We shared everything with each other.”
After dating for a while, Hagans and Ford told their families about their love interests, but things didn’t go as planned for Ford. Her father disapproved of their relationship, while Hagans’ family welcomed her with open arms.
The couple had planned to get married on May 1, 2021, not knowing that they would soon have to go their separate ways.
During their relationship, there was a 30-day period where the pastor told Hagans and Ford to stop talking. That month was the only time they didn’t speak to each other during their entire relationship.
Although she knew her father had disapproved of her relationship with Hagans, Ford wanted to continue dating him. As her relationship with her father soured, she was thrilled to reunite with Hagans after 30 days of no contact. Hagans remembers:
“We jumped through all of his hoops to be together. We had to figure out if it was worth it.”
Shortly after realizing they were ready to spend the rest of their lives together, Hagans and Ford decided to get engaged. On December 5, 2020, the couple exchanged wedding rings and quickly began planning their wedding.
Ford uploaded a photo to Facebook and wrote a heartfelt caption on it, confessing that she was looking forward to being Hagans’ wife. The couple had planned to get married on May 1, 2021, not knowing that they would soon have to go their separate ways.
Hagans and Ford started planning their big day, and one of the first things they had to do was book a venue. Later, they had to finalize guest lists, invitations and stamps.
Almost a month after their engagement, the couple excitedly visited several wedding venues to select the one they liked the most. Little did they know this would be the last time they would enjoy each other’s company.
THE LAST GOODBYE
On January 16, 2021, Hagans and Ford visited a barn. After inspecting the location, they discussed how they still had a lot on their to-do list as they walked to their cars. Before leaving the room, Ford said:
“I love you so much. I hate leaving you.”
Hagans got into his car and drove to his home in Opelika, while Ford took the road to his home in Montgomery. Around 7 p.m., Ford encountered a fatal crash at an intersection on his way home, where another high-speed vehicle rammed his car.
SOMETHING WAS WRONG
After returning home, Ford texted his fiancee, but she did not respond. When he called her, he was directed to voicemail. After waiting in vain for her response, he contacted Ford’s roommate as he was sure she should be home by then.
When her roommate said Ford hadn’t arrived, Hagans immediately grabbed her car keys and walked over to Montgomery. On his way, he saw police vans and ambulances parked at an intersection. When Hagans got out of his car and inquired about Ford, paramedics took him to a crashed car, which left him weak in his knees. He told :
“I was thinking, ‘there’s no way she could be gone.’ “
THE UNHAPPY DAY
Just a mile from her home in Montgomery, Ford died after the high-impact collision. Hagans found it hard to believe that the love of his life had left him alone a few months before their wedding.
Also, he felt worse knowing that Ford’s family had forbidden him to attend his funeral. Left with no choice, he had to stay home while Ford’s family bid him farewell.
After Ford’s family buried her, Hagans visited her grave several times as he wept for her. He often brought her flowers until the day a policeman showed him an arrest warrant in his name.
Nearly a year after Ford’s death, Hagans stopped at a traffic light in Opelika, where he was arrested by police. Soon, three police cars surrounded him, and an officer told him they were coming to arrest him for littering.
When Hagans got into the backseat of the police cruiser, he read Ford’s father’s name on the arrest warrant. He had filed a lawsuit against Hagans for leaving planters on Ford’s grave.
Hagans felt his late fiancée’s father should have tipped him off before he signed the arrest warrant. He knew the grave belonged to Ford’s family, but he didn’t know the police would arrest it a year after Ford died.
THE FATHER’S THOUGHT
Tom Ford, Hannah Ford’s father, said he had collected ten wooden planters from his daughter’s grave in the past year. He remembers that the first planter collapsed when he picked it. He said:
“It was a rotting piece of wood with pictures on it, so I threw it away.”
During the hearing, Ford said the cemetery does not allow such things and that he conveyed his message to Hagans through a friend. He filed a complaint when he still saw planters on the grave. Police arrested Hagans after placing the 10th box at the grave. Ford said:
“I find no joy in being here, and I did everything I could not to be here.”
Hagans was fined around $300. The judge also suspended a 30-day jail sentence until Hagans returned flower boxes to his fiancée’s grave.
What would you do if you were in Tom Ford’s shoes? Would you contact Hagans before filing a complaint with the police? We would like to know what you think of this story!
Click here to read another story about a bride-to-be who wore her white wedding dress to her fiancé’s grave instead of walking down the aisle.