Local News

Lawsuits in 'Ticketgate' wreck settled

Posted November 12, 2008 10:03 p.m. EST
Updated July 30, 2009 3:50 p.m. EDT

— Two drivers involved in an wreck that spawned a political brouhaha settled their lawsuits out of court Wednesday, attorney Jonathan Hall said.

Hall represented Diana Knight after she and Jamell Jones accused each other of negligence in the Oct. 25, 2007, 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.

The terms of the settlement are secret, Hall said.