Fair Bluff Town Manager doesn’t like to see himself on TV; Won’t address employee who wrecked car

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Submitted: Thu, 02/07/2013 - 4:00am
Updated: Thu, 02/07/2013 - 1:07pm

FAIR BLUFF, NC (WWAY) — Two weeks after a Fair Bluff town employee wrecked a town-owned car, there are still few details about what led to the crash. The driver, Billie Johnson, faces several charges after flipping the car into a ditch.

Today we tried to ask the town manager what happened and how Johnson still has his job, but he said he didn’t know.

We’ve been searching for answers about how the town is handling the case of Johnson, a town employee accused of wrecking a town-owned car in a late-night crash, walking away from the scene and later blowing a 0.08 blood alcohol level.

Wednesday Town Manager Al Leonard did not have any answers about what has or will happen.

Leonard, who ran for state House last year and also serves as Tabor City’s Manager, refused to go on camera saying, “I don’t like to see myself on TV.”

Off camera, he said he was not part of the discussion on disciplining Johnson, even though as town manager he is Johnson’s boss. Leonard did say Johnson still works for the town and would probably get a town-owned vehicle again.

It’s a case with twists and turns that has folks in fair bluff divided.

“They ought to punish him just like they would anybody else,” Fair Bluff resident Timmy Parker said.

Most people we tried to talk with would not go on camera. Many said they were friends of Johnson, and that this was just an example of a mistake by a good, long-time town worker. But one resident says something needs to happen.

“They need to do something about it, because if he does it one time, he’ll think he can get by with it again,” Parker said.

Johnson is charged with filing a false report, failure to alert law enforcement of a wreck and failure to reduce speed. He told police he was trying to avoid something in the road when the accident happened. Police say he will not be charged with drunk driving.


  • Sounds corrupt to me.. But ya’ll have fun with that

  • guesty says:

    Former Police Chief Lewis was caught selling drugs. If he is a scapegoat, it is to his own doing.

  • Guest fb says:

    It’s not the Police Chief or Al Leonard that are the problem,it is the town council and Mr.Britt.Fair Bluff has been that way for years it hasn’t just happened. Mr. Johnson probably knows some information they don’t want to get out.I have lived in Fair Bluff all my life ,believe me I know. To start with, look and see who the rest of the public works guys are.They are Billie Johnson’s brother and brother in-law, Looks like somebody keeping people quiet by giving them jobs with no rules. Check back on Fair Bluff public records of purchases of land the town has made and tax records and you will see the under handed dealings of the mayor and council. Let me give you one example.The town only buys land from one town councilman or a group that consists of Mayor Britt a current councilman and a former councilman. All the land for the “Foot Bridge to Nowhere” AKA(River Walk)was bought from a town councilman with Tobacco Fund Monies that the former councilman was on the committee that approved that fund distribution.This town has a lot to hide and they had a hard enough time keeping things under the rug when former Police Chief Lewis (scapegoat) and the Town Clerk(scapegoat) got caught. So you see Billie ,The former police chief , and former town clerk are only small fish in a huge lake. The FBI,SBI,State Auditors,IRS, and NC DOT Grant people need to take a long look at the town of Fair Bluff. The proof is there in black and white if anybody would look hard enough.

  • Guestfb says:

    You are right guesty,that was his own doing and justice will be served.However, everyone in town,including the “TOWN FATHERS” knew he was up to something shady .It’s kinda funny how he was turned in while some questionable town business dealings were about to come to light.Another example look at town elections the past few years.Mayor Britt actually lost to his challenger, but money and power got a new election. Guess who won the new election? When a key councilman got beaten by a challenger another councilman resigned from the board and the loser got appointed back to it. Fair Bluff is as crooked as the day is long,it’s not the great retirement community(Mayberry) people think.
    Just come drive down Main Street or better yet go to a town meeting and ask for a budget,or any public town records and see how far you get.

  • Sounds shady. Almost as bad as Bladen county. Nobody willing to step up to the plate. Dont understand how they cant fire a drunk employee and a lying bastage too! Car stolen my @## !! Thats the oldest line in the book.. Do they think anybody believes that Chit?? If ya do then ur a looser too.. My bad.. Ooops.. Maybe some in-breedin’ goin on.. Just shady on all levels. JMO

  • Vog46 says:

    He could do a phone interview with them.
    Of curse that means he’d have to answer the car crash questions…..

  • justin says:

    Talk about a public servant not offering to serve the public…all for vanity?

  • DWI says:

    The reason he can’t be charged is because the police cannot prove he was intoxicated during the wreck. He had 8 hours between the time of the wreck and the time LEO showed up to talk to him. It’s not likely, but it’s possible he was sober and then went home and drank before the police showed up. That’s at least the case that any lawyer would argue.

  • jason says:

    I think there is enough evidence to charge him with DWI and let the courts decide. If the DA will not bring charges, take it to the Attorney General. It would be in the best interest of the people in Fair Bluff. If he is found guilty, so be it. If he is found innocent, at least he was tried in a court of law, and not through the good buddy system.

  • Guest Cloudy says:

    just like the 60 mph in a 25 mph zone speed demon cop in kure beach who T-boned a car permanently disabling 1 of the occupants, the town had to cough up and settle his 2 million lawsuit then he got promoted and gets new cars every other year.

  • Guest Cure says:

    Right after they finishing visiting the mad hoax cop with the unc media degree at Kure Beach who possibly orchestrated the Ben Affleck communicating threats arrest HOAX.

  • Brian says:

    The SBI needs to pay them a visit.

    Also, the chief of police needs an immediate firing.

  • Fair Bluff citizen says:

    Apparently you are ill-informed about police chief Justin Hewett. Since he has been the Fair Bluff police chief, there have been many changes within the town. As a life-long citizen of Fair Bluff, I can honestly say that he is one of the best police chiefs that we have seen in the almost 40 years I have been on this earth. He walked into a mess from the get-go, and has gone above and beyond the call of duty to begin the massive clean-up of our beautiful, little river town. He takes pride in his job, and takes his responsibilities as chief very seriously.

    I believe it is important to remember that it took YEARS for Fair Bluff to get into the state it is in, and that it will take YEARS for it to return to the “Mayberry” like town I remember from my childhood. I believe that given time, Chief Hewett can, and will make the latter a reality.

    The citizens of Fair Bluff need to realize that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and to use another idiom, their is no “I” in team. Yes, we as the citizens of this once safe, unassuming town, need to take responsibility for this place we call home. Stop turning a blind eye to crime, look out for our neighbors, and behave as the fortunate individuals we are to be living a country with such wonderful freedoms and opportunities.

    Chief Hewett is just one man, trying to make a difference. We should all keep in mind that in order to grow, a tree must be pruned. This is our season for pruning, and the growth will come…in time. Instead of criticizing him, we should all be supporting him, looking out for him, and above all, praying for him, as well as for peace to return to our beautiful, little river town.

  • Tucker says:

    And why does the chief need an immediate firing in your opinion? Simply because of his last name?

  • Guestawmighty says:

    Your report stated, in part, “Off camera, he (Leonard) said he was not part of the discussion on disciplining Johnson, even though as town manager he is Johnson’s boss.”

    I am retired from the Town of Fair Bluff. Al Leonard essentially is a one-day-per week part time consultant, not the town manager in the usually-recognized sense of the term. I have read Al Leonard’s employment contract with the Town of Fair Bluff, and IT SPECIFICALLY STATES THAT LEONARD HAS NO AUTHORITY IN PERSONNEL MATTERS!

    Leonard is not Johnson’s boss. As a matter of fact, nowhere in his employment contract does it refer to him as town manager. That is a label the media has hung on him.

    You got that part very wrong, Channel 3 (something that often happens in your “reports”).

  • Guest 1492 says:

    Over the years he’s been on the force, he’s been known to do all sorts of crazy things, such as drawing his gun at the slightest provocation. Apparently, he’s under the protection of KB’s illustrious Chief of Police.

  • guesty says:

    And he is still there making life difficult for officers and citizens alike.

  • Guest 1248 says:

    Last year when running for political office, he didn’t mind being seen on TV. Behind the 8-ball now and he’s gun shy? Be a man, Al.

  • Guest CommonTater says:

    Just goes to show good ole Al doesn’t need the tv to look bad…. real bad….

  • Guestfb says:

    Chief Hewitt is doing a great job rebuilding a Police force. However,he needs to watch his back.Not just from criminals mind you, but also the people that he answers to. If he fails to jump through the hoops and steps on the wrong toes . He will get fired for not crossing a T in his last name on his employment application.

  • Guest2020 says:

    They may not be able to bring criminal charges based on the information you provided, but they sure can fire him.

  • wbg says:

    Sounds like a few people need to be fired, tthe chief, employee who wrecked the car and last but not least the town manager.

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