New court date set for county commissioner’s driving while impaired case

Published 5:43 pm Friday, July 30, 2021

SALISBURY — During an administrative court session on Friday morning, Rowan County Commissioner Craig Pierce was assigned a Sept. 22 court date for charges of driving while impaired and failing to maintain lane control.

On the evening of June 27, Pierce was stopped by a Salisbury Police officer near the intersection of West Innes Street and Statesville Boulevard after a person reported Pierce as a reckless driver. Pierce was allegedly belligerent toward the officer and told him that he’d contacted other elected officials about the incident.

Pierce showed four of six clues on a horizontal gaze test and couldn’t complete other field sobriety tests, an incident report states. He had red, glassy eyes, smelled of alcohol and admitted to drinking, according to the report. Pierce also took a breathalyzer test, blowing a 0.27 first attempt and 0.26 on the second, according to documents attached to his arrest warrant. Both breathalyzer readings more than three times the legal alcohol concentration limit of 0.08.

In the month since the incident, Pierce has not publicly commented on the matter or returned requests for comment. At the Rowan County Board of Commissioners meeting held on July 19, Pierce attended virtually via Zoom. Pierce was first elected commissioner in 2012. He won a second and third term in 2016 and 2020, respectively.

Pierce was not in attendance at the administrative hearing Friday, but he was represented by a lawyer from the Davis Law Firm, which is located in downtown Salisbury.

In addition to Pierce’s court date, a hearing will be held at 10 a.m. Aug. 16 regarding a petition from the Salisbury Post and WBTV to release Salisbury Police Department body camera footage captured during Pierce’s arrest. A law passed by North Carolina legislators in 2016 prohibits law enforcement agencies from releasing footage without a judge’s order. The petition was submitted to the Salisbury Police Department and district attorney on July 9. 

The footage, in addition to a list of law enforcement agency personnel whose image or voice is in the recordings, has been delivered for review by the presiding Rowan County Superior Court judge. 

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About Ben Stansell

Ben Stansell covers business, county government and more for the Salisbury Post. He joined the staff in August 2020 after graduating from the University of Alabama. Email him at ben.stansell@salisburypost.com.

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