COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (NEWS RELEASE FROM DA's OFFICE) -- Stevie Lee Cox pled responsible today in Columbus County Superior Court to a speeding charge and issued an apology for an incident that occurred on March 15, 2011.
Specifically, Mr. Cox pled responsible to speeding 69 mph in a 60 mph zone and was ordered to pay a fine of $100.00. The presiding Judge was the Honorable D. Jack Hooks, Jr., Superior Court Judge for Columbus County.
Mr. Cox was represented by Mike Willis and the case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Heath Nance.
"The District Attorney's Office is pleased with the outcome," said ADA Heath Nance. "Since being notified of this incident we felt it important to involve the community in determining whether a public official broke the law in the course of his employment.
A special Grand Jury issued a misdemeanor Indictment against Mr. Cox, however, a trial jury could not reach a unanimous verdict. The plea in this case strikes a fair balance of holding Mr. Cox responsible for his behavior while ensuring that valuable court time is reserved for other pressing matters of community importance.
Although the result of the jury trial was a hung jury, I am satisfied with the resolution in this case because the community was given the chance to hear the evidence and render a decision. I am pleased that Mr. Cox issued an apology and hope this will be a healing moment for our entire community."
On the afternoon of March 15,2011, I was returning to Chadbourn from Raleigh with the Mayor of Chadbourn and two ABC Board members.
We had been to the North Carolina General Assembly to meet with State House Representative Dewey Hill and State Senator Bill Rabon.
I did not realize that the speed zone had changed, when I was pulled over by North Carolina State Trooper Ronnie Walker. When I was stopped, I was driving Chadbourn Police Chief Steven Shaw's unmarked patrol vehicle.
The Town's official car was in a bad state of repair and Chief Shaw was out on sick leave.
After Trooper Walker approached the vehicle, I gave him my license, the vehicle registration and insurance information.
Also, during the stop I removed Chief Shaw's badge and presented it to Trooper Walker. My intention was to indentify myself as a member of the town of Chadbourn, not the chief of police.
I now realize that my behavior created confusion by my own doing, and for that I am deeply sorry.
I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to the people of the Town of Chadbourn and Columbus County for the misunderstanding that took place on that day. I understand that as a public servant I am not above the law and held to a higher standard.
I apologize for how this incident has reflected on my position, the town of Chadbourn, and the county of Columbus. It is my hope that I can now put this matter behind me and get on with my life in trying to serve the citizens of Chadbourn as their Town Manager.