Local News

Drivers in 'Ticketgate' wreck sue each other

Posted June 25, 2008 11:48 a.m. EDT

— Two drivers involved in an October wreck that spawned a political brouhaha have filed lawsuits against each other over the incident.

Diana Knight and Jamell Jones have accused each other of negligence in the Oct. 25 wreck at the intersection of Stoney Point and Gillis Hill roads.

A Fayetteville police officer, after receiving conflicting reports from witnesses, initially cited Knight for running a red light. Knight's husband, a former deputy garrison commander at Fort Bragg, called Mayor Tony Chavonne that evening to complain, and police voided the ticket shortly after Chavonne and City Manager Dale Iman visited Knight in the hospital.

Police later charged Jones with running the red light and causing the wreck.

The case sparked an outcry from Fayetteville residents, who dubbed the incident "Ticketgate" and called for an investigation into what they said was favorable treatment for Knight.

The City Council rebuked Chavonne for intervening in the police investigation, and he apologized for the perception of favoritism his actions created.

The council also voted to reinstate the ticket against Knight but later reversed the decision after Cumberland County District Attorney Ed Grannis threatened to pursue obstruction of justice charges against council members.

Grannis then assembled his own team of investigators to review the case and decided not to charge anyone in the wreck, saying witness accounts were too contradictory.