Commissioner steps down after second DWI

Brian McClellan will resign from the Macon County Board of Commissioners following his second drunken-driving arrest in just more than two years.

McClellan, a two-term Republican who served as board chairman, announced his resignation Tuesday. A replacement hasn’t been named yet.

State Highway Patrol Trooper Denny Wood stopped McClellan outside Sylva on Nov. 18 at 9:30 p.m., according to court records on file in Jackson County. The trooper stated in his report that he observed McClellan’s vehicle swerve from the right shoulder of U.S. 23 to the left shoulder. The vehicle then went into the median.

The traffic stop happened near the U.S. 23 and Mockingbird Lane intersection in Jackson County.

An hour later, at the Jackson County Jail, McClellan blew a .20 percent in a breathalyzer test, according to court records, which is more than twice North Carolina’s legal blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent.

McClellan, 55, won re-election in November despite having been charged with a DWI during the summer of 2009. He represents the Highlands district, where he lives and works as a financial advisor.

McClellan, in a press release, said he would resign from the commission board Dec. 1. He did not specifically cite the DWI arrest.

“I must refocus my priorities on my family and personal issues,” McClellan said. “I need to concentrate all my energies on taking care of those things and people most dear to me.”

Chris Murray, chairman of the Macon County Republican Party, declined to comment directly on McClellan’s DWI. He instead praised McClellan for his service to the county and wished him “Godspeed” in any challenges faced.

“Brian is a good man. He has been a good commissioner. He’s done his work well,” Murray said.

The GOP chairman said the executive committee of the local party would meet soon and select a replacement for McClellan. That person must live in the Highlands area, Murray said.

Commissioners in Macon County must vote to accept the GOP’s proposed replacement, and select a new chairman. The next board meeting is scheduled for Dec. 13.

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