Former Chatham commissioner Jim Crawford charged with DWI

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PITTSBORO — Former Chatham County Commissioner Jim Crawford has been charged with one count of driving while impaired and failing to maintain lane control after a Dec. 6 wreck.

According to an accident report from the N.C. State Highway Patrol’s office, Crawford was traveling northward on Old Graham Road at 8:15 p.m. on Dec. 6 when he lost control of his vehicle. The car — traveling at the posted speed limit of 45 mph — crossed over the center line, ran off the road and struck a ditch. No one else was involved in the accident.

Crawford suffered compression fractures in two of his vertebrae and was transported to Chatham Hospital for treatment.

“I feel lucky that I was not hurt worse than I was,” Crawford said in an email to the News + Record. “I am thankful that I didn’t hurt anyone else or damage anyone else’s property.”

The accident occurred during the last weeks of Crawford’s tenure as a Chatham County Commissioner. Crawford confirmed his retirement on Dec. 3 to the News + Record, citing health concerns as a motivator to relinquish his seat. Crawford announced his resignation at a commissioners’ work session on Dec. 8. His resignation was effective on Dec. 31.

Crawford told the News + Record he could not comment on the legal aspects of the incident in advance of his court appearance. But he did say he wanted to thank law enforcement and emergency responders for their work in responding to his accident.

“The EMT technicians and responding state Highway Patrol officer did a great job at the scene, and the Chatham Hospital staff treated my injuries promptly and reassuringly,” Crawford said. “Because my case is before the district court, I can not comment further at this time. When court officers have done their job, I will be able to answer questions.”

Crawford’s court appearance will take place at the Chatham County Courthouse in Pittsboro on Feb. 2.

Reporter Taylor Heeden can be reached at theeden@chathamnr.com.

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