Local News

Franklin County Leaders Ask For Criminal Investigation Of Sheriff

Posted June 8, 2005

— There is more fallout from a helicopter crash in Franklin County that killed a sheriff's deputy. The Franklin County commission has agreed to ask the district attorney's office to consider a criminal investigation of Sheriff Jerry Jones.

The investigation stems from a helicopter accident in May 2004 that claimed the life of Deputy Ted Horton. The pilot of the helicopter, Ben Barrick, would also be investigated.

Commissioners also asked the district attorney's office to review a North Carolina law that would allow them to remove Jones from office.

The commissioners' actions come after a year of questions about the safety of the chopper and how it was acquired. Soon after the crash, county leaders learned Jones signed a secret deal to lease the aircraft and Barrick did not have a license.

A recent report of the National Transportation and Safety Board concluded corrosion on the tail section caused a fracture in flight. The investigation also found no recorded maintenance on the helicopter.

In his contract with the sheriff, Barrick promised a chopper in excellent flying condition.

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