Local News

Cumberland County ABC General Manager Arrested For Drunken Driving

Posted March 3, 2003

— State troopers arrested a man over the weekend for violating the very regulations he enforces.

Authorities say a Highway Patrol officer pulled over Neill Monroe Jr. about 11:30 a.m. on N.C. 87 in southern Cumberland County. Monroe, general manager of the Cumberland County Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission, registered .19 on a Breathalyzer test, which is more than two times the legal limit of .08.

"The trooper said that he was weaving out of his lane of travel, crossing over the center line and just generally weaving," said Sgt. Everett Clendenin, of the state Highway Patrol.

Monroe was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated.

Word of Monroe's arrest is especially hard for county commissioner Lee Warren. Not only because Monroe is a public official, but he is also a friend.

"Having known Neill as a lot of us here in Cumberland County have for a long time, it puts us all in an extremely difficult situation. We wish he and his family the best," he said.

Monroe's arrest also disturbs the law enforcement community. Prior to heading up ABC, Monroe served more than 10 years as a Cumberland County sheriff's deputy. He also had stints with the U.S. Marshals and the Fayetteville Police Department.

On the day he was arrested, Monroe was driving a county ABC-issued car, complete with law enforcement equipment.

"When we have someone who's operating a motor vehicle equipped with police equipment, lights and siren and (has) a blood-alcohol level of 0.19, it's a deep concern to us and it should be to the citizens," Clendenin said.

Monroe was released on $500 bond and told to go to court on April 9.

The Cumberland County ABC Commission, which oversees state liquor stores in the county, has scheduled an emergency meeting for Tuesday.

Monroe's law enforcement career is also in jeopardy because he has inactive reserve status with the sheriff's office. WRAL tried to call Monroe for comment, but he did not respond.

This is not the first time there has been trouble inside Cumberland County's ABC system. Last year, two employees were suspended because of how they handled cash that was confiscated during arrests.

In 1999, Jim Peterson, general manager of the Cumberland County ABC system, was fired after being accused of making questionable purchases for a construction company that was never received.


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