CARRBORO — Surprise and sadness are among the reactions coming out of Orange County following the weekend arrest of a Carrboro public official. Fire Chief Rodney Murray is out of jail but faces various charges, including drunken driving.
Murray, 57, is a career fireman, with 25 years in Chapel Hill and a decade in Carrboro. He built a reputation as a solid fire chief. Over the weekend, that reputation took a hit.
According to arrest warrants from Durham police, a woman filed a complaint that Murray was repeatedly making annoying and harassing phone calls to her late Friday into early Saturday. Neighbors said Murray and the woman have been friends for years.
When police responded to the woman's call, they spotted a car matching the suspect's description. Despite lights and sirens, officers said Murray drove off and eluded police.
Around 3:15 a.m., police responded to a single-car accident about a mile away, where they found Murray stuck in a ditch in a 2003 Jaguar. Officers report alcohol was a factor in the crash. Damage to the vehicle was estimated around $4,000.
Authorities took Murray to the Duke Hospital for minor injuries, where he was released Saturday. They have not yet released blood alcohol testing results.
The Carrboro fire chief now faces a DWI charge, as well as charges of making harassing phone calls and refusing to stop for officers.
Murray recently returned to the fire department after suffering a heart attack. In 1991, he was convicted of driving while impaired, and his driver's license was temporarily revoked, court records show.
There was no comment from Murray, the Carrboro town manager, and the mayor. There is no word yet on how this may affect his position as fire chief.