Local News

Person commissioner found not guilty of DWI

Posted May 29, 2015
Updated May 31, 2015

Map Marker  Find News Near Me

— A Person County commissioner, who admitted to authorities he had been drinking and driving, was found not guilty of DWI Thursday.

Kyle Puryear, 33, was charged with driving under the influence after he was observed crossing the center line on Mountain Road last spring, according to a report.

The report said Puyear told deputies he'd had two beers right before getting behind the wheel.

On Thursday, a judge found him not guilty - upsetting anti-drunk driving advocates.

"I am very disappointed that one of our leaders would be in that position," said Ollie Jeffers, president of the Person County chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. "We work very hard to make sure that our highways are safe. As a leader myself, I would think other leaders would do the same and lead by example."

Jeffers was in court when Puryear faced his DWI charge. She said she was shocked by the outcome.

"At the end of the day he was found not guilty, but in court I'm telling you, I was really disappointed by what happened in court," she said.

According to court documents, the judge suppressed Puryear's arrest saying the officer did not have probable cause. Because Puyear's arrest was suppressed, his blood alcohol level of .13 was not admitted into evidence.

"I cannot understand how that level is not guilty," Jeffers said.

Jeffers fears the outcome of the case could send the wrong message to others in the county.

"We're coming up on graduation and our children are going to think it's ok to do this," she said.

According to Person County commissioner Tracey Kendrick, Puyear should be judged based on the court's ruling.

"If someone goes to a court of law and is found innocent, we should not judge them in our own opinion. We should judge them on what the court says is right or wrong," Kendrick said in a statement.

21 Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • Christen Tillett Jun 1, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread


    Judge Mike Gentry

  • Ben Sanders May 31, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread



    I didn't know there was more than one judge.

  • Mike Jones May 31, 2015
    user avatar

    Will someone find the judges name, Facebook or Twitter account. We need to get his name out !!!!

  • Ben Sanders May 31, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread



    Nobody's saying he wasn't drunk, but that doesn't mean he doesn't get due process, which is something we're all entitled to where I'm from. Now if you have some evidence that the judge had been paid off, as you're alluding to, post it here or contact the AG's office. Otherwise it's just a baseless accusation.

  • Aanritsen Deur May 30, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread


    -

    Doesn't matter. Opponent or not, regardless of their motivation, their actions may have kept someone safe from this drunk driver.

  • Aanritsen Deur May 30, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread


    -

    Agreed, the NC Attorney General, or at the very least, the SBI should be investigating BOTH the judge and the commissioner, because where I come from, blowing a .13 in a .08 state is DRUNK!!!

  • Aanritsen Deur May 30, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread


    -

    That those who drive drunk may not be exactly truthful too.

  • Ben Sanders May 30, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread



    Observing someone crossing the center line gives an officer the right to pull them over and charge them with driving left of center. It gives them reasonable suspicion to suspect DUI, but it does not give them probable cause to charge them with DUI. That must be established separately during the duration of the stop and NC has strict laws regarding what constitutes probable cause.

  • Sherrill Craig May 30, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread


    The Police Officer had probable cause to pull him over. He crossed the centre line twice. That would be probable cause to pull ANYONE over, but, since he is "important", he got off, and is now free to drink and drive at will.. Wheee!

    Well done, Person County...Well Done.

  • Ben Sanders May 30, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread



    Might want to look up the difference between "reasonable suspicion" and "probable cause".

More...