A bathroom break on the side of the road leads to prison for convicted felon

Clifton Eugene Battle
Clifton Eugene Battle

With a stronger bladder, Clifton Battle might be a free man.

Last June, the 35-year-old Raleigh man stopped his car on Poole Road and got out to take a bathroom break, federal court records said.

Then a Wake County sheriff’s deputy came along and found Battle’s car idling in a travel lane, its driver standing by the open door in a puddle. He had glassy eyes, smelled of alcohol and explained that nature had called, according to court documents.

But the deputy spotted a Taurus .38 special revolver in plain view on the passenger seat, records said. And when he opened the trunk, he found a box of ammunition.

This was trouble.

Battle had already been convicted, in 2008, of possessing a firearm as a felon. This traffic stop triggered another federal case, and on Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Terrence Boyle sentenced Battle to four years in prison.

A bit of helpful news, according to an online guide for incoming inmates: cells in federal prisons at the medium and high-security levels come equipped with their own toilets.

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Josh Shaffer covers Wake County and federal courts. He has been a reporter for The News & Observer since 2004 and previously wrote a column about unusual people and places.