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Lee County Commissioner Brian Bigelow broke his silence Friday to question the actions and motives of deputies that pulled him over and found drugs in his car this week.

“I do think that there are facts that need to be straightened out,” Bigelow said in an interview with The News-Press. “Or there are statements that need to be straightened out as to whether or not they’re true.”

Lee County Sheriff’s deputies pulled over Bigelow’s rental car in the Tice neighborhood Wednesday afternoon. The driver, 19-year-old David Alexander Henley, was arrested on drug charges and for driving without a license after Lee County Sheriff’s deputies found marijuana and cocaine on him.

Bigelow was cited for allowing an unlicensed driver behind the wheel of his car. He could face up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine if found guilty of the second-degree misdemeanor.

Bigelow will file a not guilty plea during his Nov. 26 arraignment, according to his attorney, Mark Ringsmuth.

Bigelow resigned from the county commission this year in a failed bid for Clerk of Court. His last day is Nov. 20.

Bigelow said he was quickly recognized by one of the deputies who pulled him over. Bigelow then identified himself as a Lee County commissioner, at which point another 10 deputies flocked to the scene, causing what Bigelow described as momentary mayhem.

“At that time,” Bigelow said in his statement, “it became clear to me that this would not likely be handled as a routine allegation of a traffic offense. And, in fact, it was not.”

Lee County Sheriff’s Office policy dictates a supervisor must be notified and respond to the scene whenever a public official is suspected of a crime.

The sheriff’s office report alleges Bigelow and Henley visited a known drug house prior to getting pulled over, and possibly conducted a drug deal. Bigelow said that’s not true — the commissioner and the 19-year-old were taking Bigelow’s dog to visit its breeder.

Bigelow said Henley is his friend, and did not go into much further detail about their relationship.

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“I understand the curiosity, perhaps,” he said in an interview Friday. “It’s just a matter of crossing paths. I really am not hiding anything.”

A records search reveals a shared home address for Bigelow and Henley. The commissioner said Henley does not live with him, but he stayed at his home for about two weeks earlier this year. Bigelow could not recall exactly why Henley needed a place to stay.

“Friends are friends,” he said. “They help each other out.”

According to Henley’s Facebook page, the 19-year-old is from Mississippi and attended Gateway Charter School.

During Bigelow’s traffic stop, deputies also found small amounts of what could have been marijuana throughout the vehicle, according to a Lee County Sheriff’s Office report. The substance did not test positive for marijuana, possibly because of the small amount.

According to the sheriff’s office report, Henley then told deputies the two bought marijuana before they were pulled over, and Bigelow uses cocaine on a regular basis.

Bigelow disputes that part of the report. In a statement he released Friday, the commissioner said the two allegations are not true and he does not believe Henley said them.

“We can all still hope that when we encounter a sworn officer of the law, that he or she will stick with the facts and only the facts,” Bigelow said in a statement released Friday, “but that can not always be the case; especially if we have very public differences of opinion with the arresting officer’s boss man.”

Bigelow would not specify what led to the conflict between him and Sheriff Mike Scott.

“I wish, I wish, I wish I could make more comment about that,” he said. “The question for myself is does this dig a hole, and if so, how deep? And by digging a hole, I mean, is it contrary to my better interest as far as being vindicated?”

Bigelow has been critical of Scott’s budgets and personnel costs for years. This year, the county commission cut the sheriff’s budget by $1.5 million for the 2012-13 fiscal year after he decided to give his employees bonuses instead of returning the money to the county.

Scott declined all media requests for comment Friday about Bigelow’s case.

Ringsmuth said it’s not likely Henley’s assertion Bigelow uses drugs will amount to anything.

“It creates a lot of reasonable doubt when your only witness is the guy that’s caught with the drugs,” Ringsmuth said. “And there’s no evidence that Mr. Bigelow consumed any drugs, possessed any drugs, was under the influence of any drugs.”

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