Judge dismisses DUI charge against city administrator
By By Suzanne Monk / managing editor
May 17, 2002
Judge Lester Williamson Jr. dismissed a DUI charge against Don Cross on Thursday in Meridian Municipal Court because the police officer who made the arrest was "unavailable to testify."
The officer, Donald Morgan, was unavailable to testify because he was charged May 6 with illegal possession of cocaine and illegal possession of crystal methamphetamine after a raid at his Clarke County home.
Morgan has since been fired.
Meridian attorney Robbie Jones represents Cross. Jones said his client is innocent and he would have been ready to proceed if the case had not been dismissed.
Back on the job
Today is Cross' first day back on the job after a 30-day suspension without pay that began April 17.
An earlier 30-day suspension, with pay, began Feb. 6 two days after he had a one-car accident that resulted in his DUI arrest.
Cross resigned shortly after the first suspension began, but later asked Meridian Mayor John Robert Smith if he could withdraw his letter of resignation.
Smith said he would hold the letter "in abeyance" while the two men talked through the issues. After his first suspension, and until April 17, Cross was presumably a paid employee of the city but did not keep office hours.
On April 16, Smith wrote a letter to Cross telling him he could keep his job under certain conditions. One of those conditions was improvements in the city's random drug screening program, which Cross oversees.
Civil Service appeal
Meanwhile, Cross has filed an appeal to the Meridian Civil Service Commission of his first 30-day, paid suspension.
He asked that action regarding the appeal be delayed until after his DUI trial in Meridian Municipal Court. Now that the trial is over, that appeal is expected to be taken up at the next Civil Service Commission meeting on June 11.
In this same appeal, Cross alleged that white city employees accused of similar wrong-doing had been treated differently by the city administration. He has consistently declined to comment on this complaint.
Cross did, however, say Friday that he will have a "more complete statement" about his recent troubles at some point in the future.