Union Springs mayor arrested

Posted by: Mario Hendricks - bio | email

Updated by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

UNION SPRINGS, AL (WSFA) - Union Springs Mayor John McGowan is out of jail on bond tonight.
Police arrested Mayor John McGowan around 2:30 Saturday morning for drunk driving. They say he was on his way to help his step-daughter who had also been pulled over for not having any lights on.

"[He] asked them was there anything he could do to help the situation. [The officer] advised him he needed to step back and get in his car and leave," says Union Springs Police Chief, Clarence Wheeler.

Wheeler says officers smelled alcohol on McGowan's breath.
They conducted sobriety tests and arrested him for DUI. They also charged him with obstructing government operations.

"He was trying to stop them from writing the citation," says Wheeler.

The arrest comes on the heels of tension between the mayor and police department which included allegations of officer intimidation and forcing police to move traffic checkpoints away from a night club owned by one of the mayor's family members.

News of the arrest came as a shock to many.

"I'm sorry it happened. But I will support Mr. McGowan 100%," says Union Springs resident, Calvin Pruitt.

"He's in a position where he's supposed to be trying to lead others. And he's stepped in that crack, ya know, and he's going to have to get himself together," adds Wheeler.

But one city council member isn't surprised.

"I had seen it coming, and I was just praying that it wouldn't happen. And now it did happen, and it's just something that we're going to have to deal with," says Lewis E. Pugh.

McGowen has been in office for a little over a year now. His court date is set for January 13th.

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