Local News

District Attorney To Determine Whether Franklin Sheriff Broke Law

Posted June 9, 2005 6:19 a.m. EDT

— The man asked to investigate Franklin County Sheriff Jerry Jones is talking about a fatal helicopter crash from May 2004.

Jones could become the focus of a criminal investigation and District Attorney Sam Currin is in charge of leading it.

"We'll go over and see if it's something here that leads to criminal intent," Currin said.

The question of criminal activity is part of the fallout from a helicopter crash more than a year ago that killed a sheriff's deputy. Since then, county leaders discovered disturbing facts about the chopper's safety.

The pilot Ben Barrick did not have a license, a recent report by the National Transportation Safety Boad report showed lack of maintenance and Jones signed a secret deal to buy the helicopter.

That information led county commissioners to go to the district attorney. Currin said a decision about whether to investigate Jones should come later in the week.

"I don't know if there's anything that rises to the level of a criminal act that has occurred. Nothing I've been told so far would lead me to believe that," he said.

Jones was unable to be reached by WRAL for comment.