COVINGTON —Deputies are on patrol every day, but in Newton County, the sheriff himself is often on the road.
“We’re fortunate that we have a sheriff that does patrol our county, at all hours of the day and night. We never know when we’re going to hear him on the radio,” said Investigator Jeff Alexander.
Alexander said Sheriff Ezell Brown will make traffic stops, but in cases that he is patrolling in an unmarked vehicle, he will call for a marked patrol car to make the stop and he will serve as backup.
“I have worked with the sheriff for 25 years, and I can say that just about to a person here that we are all glad to back him up or have him back us up,” Alexander said.
Brown has 40 years of law enforcement experience. He was first elected sheriff in 2008 and won re-election in 2012. Brown came up through the ranks of the NCSO, holding numerous positions since coming to work there in 1978, including supervisor of the night shift of the Newton County Detention Center, investigator in the Criminal Investigations Division and tracking and monitoring sex offenders. He is the first dually-certified law enforcement and arson investigator in the county.
Just last week, Brown radioed in that he was pursuing a driver who was possibly under the influence traveling down Interstate 20 at speeds greater than 100 mph.
According to the incident report, Sheriff Brown was traveling in his county-issued black Tahoe pursuing a black BMW around 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, May 1.
“Reports to the 911 Center from the sheriff and other motorists described the offender’s actions as speeding, driving on and off the interstate, crossing both white lines, turning his emergency flashers on and off and slowing down to around 40 mph and then speeding up,” the incident report states. “It was also reported that he was stalling all eastbound lanes of traffic due to his driving antics.”
Deputy Mark Lovell was able to intercept the BMW around mile marker 98 and pulled him over. Brown arrived behind him and served as backup.
Lovell reported that as he approached the driver’s side window, he smelled what appeared to be alcohol and urine.
“The driver was asked if he had anything to drink, and in slurred speech, said that he didn’t drink,” the incident report states.
The driver, later identified as 53-year-old Garry Murray of 240 E. 93rd St., Apt. 16-C, in New York City, was asked to get out of his car.
“I asked the offender again if he had anything to drink and he stated he did not drink anything,” Lovell reported. “I asked if he was on medication that would make him smell like alcohol and make him drive, talk and act in the manner he was and stated he was not on any medication.”
Murray was arrested and transported to the Newton County Law Enforcement Center. He was charged with DUI and reckless driving.