An investigation of a hit-and-run accident led to the arrest of four men on drug and DUI charges. One of the suspects was identified as the son of the Rockdale County Sheriff.
John Jeffrey Wigington, 20, of Stockbridge was charged with having an open container, driving under the influence of alcohol under 21 years of age, and possession of marijuana less than one ounce.
Tyler McCay Sutton, 21, of Conyers, William Luke Kadel, 18, of Conyers, and Zachery William Cheek, 20, of Mansfield were charged with possession of marijuana less than one ounce.
According to Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office reports, deputies received a call around 3:45 a.m. March 13 about a hit-and-run involving a black SUV that had side-swiped a vehicle in the Krystal’s drive through and then headed south on Ga. Highway 138.
A short time later, deputies saw what appeared to be a black Toyota SUV going south on Ga. Highway 20. The vehicle, which turned out to be a black GMC Jimmy with four white males inside, was pulled over near Clubhouse Lane and Honey Creek Road.
According to the report, deputies could smell the odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle while still 20 feet away.
“When I approached the driver, he stuck out his hand to shake and identified himself as John Wigington,” wrote the reporting deputy. The deputy told the men that he could smell the drugs and would have to search the car. “I advised them that I would find the drugs and that it would be much better for everyone if they just voluntarily gave them to me.”
Kadel, who was the right front passenger and owner of the vehicle, “reached into his left front pocket and pulled out several large chunks of loose marijuana” and said that was all they had.
When the deputy asked Wigington how much he had to drink, and Wigington said he had several drinks earlier.
At this point, the responding deputies consulted their supervisors for instructions, since Wigington was identified as the sheriff’s son. “I did not know if there would be a conflict of interest due to the relationship which would require another agency to work the chase or if we should continue to investigate,” wrote the deputy. He was instructed to continue the investigation “as if it were any other traffic stop.”
When asked if there was any more marijuana, Cheek, the right rear passenger, pulled out a marijuana pipe with partially burnt marijuana from his left shoe.
Wigington said they had smoked about an hour ago and that he had about six drinks at the Ozone bar in Newton County.
The deputy administered field sobriety tests, such as the walk and turn, one leg stand, and a portable alcohol breath tester, which registered a reading of 0.148 grams percent.
A search of the car turned up three plastic cups with white Zinfandel wine, a 5 liter box of wine that was three-fourths empty, an open can of beer, and six beers in a white plastic bag. There was also an additional bag of marijuana and marijuana seeds, which no one claimed and was charged to Sutton.
At the jail, a breath test for Wigington registered a reading of 0.105 and 0.111 grams percent alcohol.
All four were booked into Rockdale County Jail and bonded out later that morning.