Knightdale town council member resigns

Two-term member Terrence Gleason faces legal problems, including charges of DWI, marijuana possession and reckless driving.

aspecht@newsobserver.comAugust 14, 2012 

Knightdale Town Councilor Terrence Gleason at the April 2, 2012 Town Council meeting. On March 27, Gleason was charged with possession of marijuana, failure to report a traffic accident, and reckless driving.

PAUL A. SPECHT - ASPECHT@NEWSOBSERVER.COM

— Two-term town council member Terrence Gleason resigned Tuesday, more than two weeks after the mayor urged him to step down.

Gleason, 60, a board member since 2005, faces legal issues, including charges of DWI, marijuana possession and reckless driving. Gleason said he wanted to spare the town from negative attention.

“Every time I do something it’s in the newspaper,” Gleason said in a phone interview Tuesday. “After a while … defending (the charges) gets tiring.”

In March, Gleason was arrested on charges of reckless driving, possession of marijuana and leaving the scene of an accident after a night with his roommate. Gleason and Matthew Wills wrecked Gleason’s car in a ditch on Smithfield Road in Knightdale. Police were later called to their home on Gallows Way, where they were found fighting on the front lawn.

On July 22, the State Highway Patrol charged Gleason with DWI and revoked his driver’s license after stopping him outside Wendell. On July 27, Gleason was arrested in Knightdale on suspicion of driving while impaired.

On July 28, Gleason said Knightdale Mayor Russell Killen asked him to resign. That night, Gleason was taken to WakeMed after emergency responders were called to his house. Town officials said Gleason had “ingested something.” Wills said he had found Gleason passed out on the floor of their home with an empty bottle of prescription sleeping pills.

Wills said Gleason was depressed and “felt like a failure” after reports of his DWIs surfaced.

“All this stuff … put him at a breaking point,” Wills said in an interview late last month.

On July 30, Gleason took a medical leave of absence. Last week, Gleason said he was still considering Killen’s request to resign, but expected to attend this week’s Knightdale Town Council meeting.

“I’m innocent until proven guilty,” he said Thursday.

On Tuesday, Gleason said resigning “is in my best interest.”

Town councilmen James Roberson and Jeff Eddins, who in March said they supported Gleason remaining on the council, said Tuesday they agreed with his decision to step down.

“He made the best possible decision for the town,” Roberson said. “Now, we can move forward … without distraction.”

Gleason, who works as a landscape architect for The Site Group in Raleigh, helped introduce stricter zoning ordinances in Knightdale during his first term. He also served on the Planning and Engineering Committee and Public Safety Committee.

“The thing I take the most pride in is voting ‘No’ for the super Walmart,” Gleason said Tuesday.

In the late 2000s, a group of residents successfully deterred Walmart from building a 206,000-square-foot Supercenter on U.S. 64. The majority of the town council had voted to approve the proposed development.

The council will appoint a replacement for Gleason, but it’s not clear how or when. Gleason’s term ends in 2013.

Killen favors appointing Tim Poirier, a local optometrist who served on the council from 1998 to 2011.

“Tim recently retired and has no desire to run for re-election,” Killen said. “I think appointing (Poirier) would be the smartest, least controversial appointment we could make.”

Specht: 919-829-4826

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