Section mayor convicted of DUI, files appeal
SECTION, Ala. (WHNT)- Section Mayor Ronald Fossett was convicted Monday afternoon on a charge of driving under the influence. The charge stems from an arrest back on June 28.
Three people testified against the mayor Monday afternoon during his trial in Section municipal court. One of them was Wade Patterson.
Patterson, who is a police officer in Scottsboro, testified that Fossett almost caused him to crash on the evening of June 28, 2013. Patterson says Fossett ran a stop sign and then a made a wide sweeping turn and came into his lane of traffic. He says they barely missed colliding.
Patterson says he then called county dispatch to report what he believed was Mayor Fossett driving under the influence.
Barry Munza, who was a Section officer at the time, testified that he responded to the call and went to the mayor’s home on Gurley circle. He said that just as he arrived, he witnessed Fossett pulling out of his driveway. Munza says he flagged the mayor down and walked over to his vehicle.
“I saw a mixed drink in the console of his car and I could smell alcohol,” Munza testified. He said he asked the mayor if he had been drinking and he says the mayor responded that he had had a few wine coolers.
Munza says he asked the mayor to get out of his vehicle and at first the mayor refused. After telling him that he could either step out of the car or he would get him out of the car, Munza says the mayor then relented.
Munza went on to tell the judge that the mayor, in his opinion, failed a field sobriety test. He says he told the mayor he was under arrest and at that point the mayor became belligerent.
“He said I was F-ing fired and I could go back to the office and turn in my G-D gear,” Munza recalled the mayor saying.
After the arrest, Fossett was taken to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office to be booked into the county jail. A jailer testified that she too witnessed the mayor being belligerent and said she also heard the mayor tell Munza that he was fired.
The mayor then testified in his own defense. He told the judge he didn’t run a stop sign and that the reason he made a sweeping turn was to avoid hitting a dog. He also says he had poured some wine over ice and had only taken a few sips. He said he’s never had a wine cooler in his life.
Once the testimony was finished, Judge Rocky Watson immediately found Fossett guilty of DUI. He sentenced him to 90 days in jail, but gave him a suspended sentence. He also ordered Fossett to pay a $1500 fine.
Fossett’s attorney George Flowers says he has filed an appeal.
“We have appealed the decision. We have appealed the decision of the court. And we completely expect to be successful on the circuit court level.”