Resident disputes mayor#039;s allegations

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 29, 2005

George Russ Wilkerson said Mayor Curtis Petrey's account of an alleged incident that happened two weeks ago in the northern community of Petrey is 'nothing but lies.'

In fact, Wilkerson, who was charged with the third degree assault of Petrey, said he had filed a complaint in the Crenshaw County Sheriff's Office against the town mayor earlier that day for impersonating a police officer.

The complaint stemmed from an incident that happened on Wednesday, April 13, said Wilkerson, when Petrey activated the emergency lights on the town's patrol car as Wilkerson was turning onto Crenshaw County Road 30. The incident report states that Wilkerson contacted Petrey by phone that night and asked if he had a badge. Petrey, according to the report, said he didn't have a badge but he was working on it. Wilkerson said he then replied that he had done nothing wrong and Petrey accused him of being a liar.

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"He called me a bald-faced lie," Wilkerson said.

Wilkerson took issue with Petrey's account of the incident that occurred the following Friday, April 15. Petrey alleged that Wilkerson's truck had sped past Petrey Wholesale, deliberately running a stop sign three times when the mayor had stopped to show the town's new patrol car to company employees.

"That was supposed to have happened between 4:30 and 5 p.m. according to him," said Wilkerson. "But Petrey Wholesale closes in the afternoon on Friday."

Wilkerson, who operates several chicken houses in the area, said he owns five vehicles and he couldn't account as to where all of those vehicles were when the incident allegedly occurred.

"I don't think anyone I would have had working for me would have done that," said Wilkerson.

Petrey stated that he followed the vehicle in question to J & S Grocery and recorded Wilkerson's tag number. Wilkerson said he was sitting outside and walked over to tap on Petrey's window to confront him. He said John Frank Wilkerson, owner of the grocery, and Jeff Wilkerson also emerged from the store and John Frank asked Petrey 'at least 10 times' to leave the property.

"He was on private property," said Wilkerson. "And he said he was trying to reason with me, but what he was doing wasn't 'reasoning' with me. He was calling me a liar and he called me 'son' three times as I tried to walk away. I'm not his son and I don't like being called son."

Wilkerson wouldn't comment as to if he actually struck Petrey.

"That will all be decided in court," he said.

He also stated that he was not involved in any manner with the defacement of the town's patrol car, which happened on Saturday.

Wilkerson questioned why the community even needed a police car.

"When did crime become so rampant in Petrey?" He said. "I do know that trespassing is a crime and the main person going around on private property is Curtis Petrey. He is not a law officer and he cannot be a law officer as long as he's an elected official."