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Originally published: 2013-11-15 17:50:37
Last modified: 2013-11-21 12:38:26

UPDATED: Arrest made after blue-light traffic stop

by Kellen Short

Boone Public Works Director Blake Brown was charged with a misdemeanor Friday after allegations that he unlawfully pulled over a vehicle using blue lights last week, according to the sheriff's office.

A Boone woman reported that she was stopped around 1:30 p.m. Nov. 7 on Deerfield Road by a man in a vehicle displaying a blue light.

In an interview Friday, the woman said she was driving away from town on Deerfield Road when a gray or pewter unmarked SUV pulled behind her at the three-way stop at Bamboo Road.

The woman spoke to the Watauga Democrat on condition of anonymity.

Seeing a blue light in the driver's side of the vehicle, the woman said she pulled over in the parking lot of Boone Baptist Church, she said. The light appeared to be steady, not flashing, and the vehicle did not sound a siren, she said.

"It just made me uncomfortable ... like something's not right," she said.

The man who exited the vehicle was wearing regular clothes - not a police uniform - and did not have a badge visible, the woman said. She said she cracked her window as the man approached.

"I said to him, in a really hateful voice, 'Are you a cop?' and when I said that, he turned around and headed back to his car," the woman said. "He said 'yes,' really hateful under his breath, but I knew he wasn't."

She returned quickly to her home and called the Watauga County Sheriff's Office, describing the incident and the man.

Officers were assisted in their investigation by a tip received through High Country Crimestoppers, Sheriff Len Hagaman said.

Brown, 57, of 1005 Evergreen Drive, Boone, was charged Friday with unlawful possession or activation of a blue light, according to Hagaman. He was issued a $2,000 secured bond and is scheduled to appear in court Dec. 19.

Under N.C. General Statute  20-130.1, possession or activation of a blue light except for law enforcement purposes is a misdemeanor.

Brown could not immediately be reached for comment Friday.

Hagaman said Friday he was not sure where Brown could have obtained a blue light or whether he might have had access to town of Boone equipment through his oversight of the motor pool.

Brown is not a suspect in a similar blue-light traffic stop reported on the Appalachian State University campus last week, Hagaman said.

A female ASU student reported being pulled over by a gold or silver compact car with a blue light on the dashboard around 12:30 a.m. Nov. 8 on Hill Street, according to ASU police. She described the man as in his late 30s to early 40s, approximately 5 foot 8 inches with medium build. He was clean-shaven with a gold stud earring in his left ear with a noticeable "country" accent, according to police.
Officers are still seeking a suspect in that incident.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Brown's age due to inaccurate information from the sheriff's office. The story has been corrected.