Police chief suspended after being pulled over in unmarked patrol car

by: Mark Becker Updated:

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MOUNT GILEAD, N.C. - The Cabarrus County Sheriff's Office says they did not offer any special treatment to a local police chief after he was pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving.
                               
Mt. Gilead Police Chief Cleve Willoughby and an officer were pulled over on Highway 49 in Harrisburg on March 31 after another driver called 911 and reported seeing their car driving erratically.
                               
On Tuesday, the Sheriff's Office released that 911 call and the deputy's report showing that Willoughby told deputies they had stopped for lunch and had a couple of beers. A field sobriety test showed Willoughby's blood alcohol level was .05 -- below the legal limit of .08.                               

The report says the deputy would not let Willoughby drive back to Mt Gilead, instead allowing him to arrange for someone else to pick him and the officer up.
                               
"I told him to handle it like he would any other person," Chief Deputy Paul Hunt told Eyewitness News.  Hunt said they often let drivers who had something to drink but who aren't legally impaired find another way home.
                               
But an attorney who handles a lot of DWI cases told Eyewitness News that the case does raise some questions.
                               
"You're supposed to do a series of other tests and I'd want to know a little bit more about that," said Bill Powers.
 
Powers said that officers can arrest someone for DWI even if they don't have a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher, and any time an officer is pulled over it raises questions.               
                               
"I don't think a police officer should expect better treatment because the officer wears a gun (and) a badge. But nor do I think an officer should expect worse treatment," Powers said.
                               
Willoughby has been suspended while the town of Mt Gilead does an internal investigation.

Read our past coverage:

Police chief suspended, accused of driving town-owned vehicle after drinking