NC police chief suspended with pay after Knightdale DWI charge

John Arthur Ennis of Knightdale is the police chief in Bailey in Nash County.

BAILEY, N.C. (WNCN) — A police chief of a town in Nash County has been suspended after he was charged with DWI in Knightdale on Monday.

UPDATE: NC police chief resigns nearly a year after being charged with DWI in Knightdale

John Arthur Ennis, 31, of Knightdale, was arrested in Knightdale Monday.

Ennis, who is the Bailey Police Chief, will continue to receive his pay until the DWI charge is resolved by the court system, Bailey town officials decided Wednesday.

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The Highway Patrol said that Monday around 7:20 p.m., they found Ennis at a car that had overturned on Robertson Road.

The Patrol said the car ran off the right side of the road and the driver overcorrected. The car flipped over and then came to rest upright.

Mayor Timothy Johnson met with the town attorney in a closed session Wednesday.

While the mayor went in the front door for the meeting — the chief entered the building though a back entrance out of sight of news cameras.

After meeting more than an hour, the chief started  to come out the back door, but ducked back inside when he saw CBS North Carolina.

At that point, the mayor and town attorney said they’d only talk on camera with CBS North Carolina in front of town hall and cameras had to leave the back door to get the interview.

“My concern right now is for him and what he’s having to go through but also we have to allowed to process that needs to be done to determine whether he’s adjudicated guilty or not guilty,” said Mayor Timothy Johnson.

The town attorney explained the situation.

“He adamantly denies that he was drinking and driving… he was sick for a week and taking a a lot of cold medications and he believes that caused him to have a negative breathalyzer test,” said Elizabeth Fairman, Bailey’s town attorney.

During the interview, CBS North Carolina cameras caught the police chief being driven away after leaving from the back door at town hall.

CBS North Carolina reporter Steve Sbraccia asked why the chief was ushered in and out the back of town hall.

“No comment,” the mayor initially said, but then added: “It was a personal matter for him and at this time we want to make sure he was comfortable to speak with us and didn’t feel pressured.”

The town only has two full-time police officers and with the chief’s suspension they only have one full timer and four part-time  officers, but the mayor says that’s enough to keep the town covered.

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