Mount Gilead police chief resigns

Mount Gilead Police Chief Cleve Willoughby resigned his position Tue., Apr. 22, amid controversy surrounding a traffic stop last week in Cabarrus County.

Mount Gilead Police Chief Cleve Willoughby, in a photo retrieved from the town website Apr. 22, 2014. (Town of Mount Gilead photo, mtgileadnc.com)

Former Mount Gilead Police Chief Cleve Willoughby, in a photo retrieved from the town website Apr. 22, 2014. (Town of Mount Gilead photo, mtgileadnc.com)

The resignation was confirmed at 1:55 p.m. Tuesday by Town Manager Katrina Tatum. No plans for interim leadership were announced.

Concord newspaper the Independent Tribune reported earlier that Willoughby was driving a Mount Gilead town vehicle when he was stopped by a deputy with the Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office. The report said dispatchers had received a call reporting erratic driving, and Cabarrus County chief deputy Paul Hunt told the paper alcohol was involved, but “not enough to warrant any charges.”

Still, deputies would not let the chief and another Mount Gilead officer continue, and the Montgomery Herald reports a third officer went to Cabarrus County and retrieved the vehicle, while another person drove Willoughby and the other officer back home.

The Herald identified the other officer as James Lewellan and cited a Cabarrus Sheriff’s Office report that said the pair were on their way home from the veterans hospital when they stopped for dinner and had “a couple of beers with their meal.”

Published reports say Chief Willoughby was suspended after an emergency meeting of commissioners last Thursday night.

It was not immediately clear if an emergency meeting of town commissioners scheduled for 7:30 p.m. tonight at the Mount Gilead Public Library would still be held.

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Mount Gilead Commissioners to discuss personnel issue in emergency meeting tonight

Mount Gilead Town Commissioners will meet tonight (Apr. 22) to discuss a personnel issue. That word comes from Town Manager Katrina Tatum, who did not comment further.

Mount Gilead Police Chief Cleve Willoughby, in a photo retrieved from the town website Apr. 22, 2014. (Town of Mount Gilead photo, mtgileadnc.com)

Mount Gilead Police Chief Cleve Willoughby, in a photo retrieved from the town website Apr. 22, 2014. (Town of Mount Gilead photo, mtgileadnc.com)

Sources tell WMTG the matter at hand involves police chief Cleve Willoughby, who was recently suspended by the town following a traffic stop in Cabarrus County.

Concord newspaper the Independent Tribune reported that Willoughby was driving a Mount Gilead town vehicle when he was stopped last week by a deputy with the Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office. The report said dispatchers had received a call reporting erratic driving, and Cabarrus County chief deputy Paul Hunt told the paper alcohol was involved, but “not enough to warrant any charges.”

Still, deputies would not let the chief and another Mount Gilead officer continue, and the Montgomery Herald reports a third officer went to Cabarrus County and retrieved the vehicle, while another person drove Willoughby and the other officer back home.

Published reports say Chief Willoughby was suspended after an emergency meeting last Thursday night (Apr. 17).

Tonight’s meeting will start at 7:30 p.m. at the Mount Gilead Public Library. WMTG will provide updates when new information is available.

Editor’s note: As a meeting of an elected body, it is expected that commissioners will open the business publicly, then move to a closed session to discuss the personnel matters. In such situations, decisions are usually announced after the closed session is completed and before the meeting adjourns, though sometimes personnel issues are not disclosed in detail.

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Community Calendar, Sat., Apr. 19, 2014

Here are some of the things we’re talking about today on WMTG…

130502_WMTG_Community_Calendar– The West Montgomery Lions Club is having a pancake breakfast today (Apr. 20). They’ll serve until 12 noon at the Eldorado Community Building on Hwy. 109 N.

– A community Easter Sunrise service will be held tomorrow morning (Apr. 20) at 7 at Sharon Cemetery on Hwy. 731 just east of Mount Gilead. The service is sponsored by First Presbyterian, First United Methodist and First Baptist Churches, with breakfast following at First Baptist Church. In the event of rain, the service will be at First Baptist. WMTG will air a delayed broadcast of the Easter sunrise service tomorrow morning at 8 a.m.

– The Norwood Arbor Day Festival is coming up next week. Music, food, kids activities and vendors are part of the festival, which also includes a car show and a barbecue on Saturday. Details at http://www.norwoodnc.com or 704-474-3416.

– Morrow Mountain State Park will host a butterfly hike next Sat., Apr. 26, at 10 a.m. The 90-minute walk will provide butterfly viewing and learning opportunities. Advance registration is requested at 704-982-4402.

– Also next Saturday (Apr. 26), the Uwharrie Volunteer Fire Department will have a barbecue, noon to 7 p.m. at the fire station in Uwharrie.

Looking a little farther ahead…

– Mount Gilead’s annual May Day celebration will be Sat., May 3, with an 8 a.m. walkathon, a 10 a.m. parade through town, and activities all day at Highland Community Center. All are invited, and more information is available at 910-439-4703.

– STARworks will host its annual FireFest, May 2 through 4 at their facility on Russell Dr. in Star. More information is available online at http://www.starworksnc.org, or by phone at 910-428-9001.

See and share event details from our home page at http://www.wmtg.org, or call us toll-free at 1-855-881-9684. The community calendar is heard at about half past the hour, Saturdays and Sundays on Community Radio WMTG – 88.1 FM in Mount Gilead, online at http://www.wmtg.org, and with the TuneIn mobile app.

 

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West Montgomery baseball to host Armed Forces Night

The West Montgomery Baseball Team will be hosting Armed Forces Night Fri., Apr. 11, as part of their game versus South Davidson High School.

130820_West_Montgomery_Logo_250West Assistant Coach Mike Elkins said all veterans and active military personnel will be honored during a special pre-game recognition, and also with free admission to game and complimentary concessions.

The game starts Apr. 11 at 7 p.m., and coaches are asking the veterans and military personnel to be at the home team dug out by 6:30 p.m. to be part of the appreciation ceremony.

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