School Board member charged with DUI

Friday, November 21, 2008

A former Marshall County commissioner, who's now on the School Board, was arrested Sunday and charged with driving under the influence and refusing to take a blood alcohol test, public records state.

Mark Edward Wilkerson, 43, of Caney Creek Lane, Chapel Hill, was reportedly driving a white 2002 Cadillac Deville in an erratic manner on U.S. Highway 431 (Franklin Pike) at about 1 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 16, records show.

Wilkerson was driving alone, according to the report filed by Marshall County Sheriff's Deputy Tony Nichols who stopped the car, spoke with the driver, performed field sobriety tests and arrested Wilkerson.

"Mr. Wilkerson continually insisted that I needed to call our chief deputy and the sheriff to work this problem out; that he did not need to be treated in such a way," Nichols wrote in his report.

The deputy also reported that when he stopped the Cadillac he saw an empty beer bottle on the rear floorboard of the car.

Wilkerson initially "removed a credit card from his wallet thinking it was his driver's license," Nichols wrote in his report.

"I asked Mr. Wilkerson if he had been drinking and he stated that he had not. I then asked if there was any empty or open containers in his vehicle and he replied no," Nichols wrote in his report.

Wilkerson performed poorly on field sobriety tests, according to Nichols' report which notes that the school board member refused to submit to a test to determine the alcohol and/or drug content of his blood, leading to the charge of violation of the implied consent law.

Nichols did give Wilkerson the opportunity to call someone to pick up his car. The report states that Wilkerson wanted "to just have it towed that he could afford the bill." The Cadillac was towed by A-Plus Collision. A keyboard and other musical equipment were in the car.

Wilkerson's MySpace page lists his occupation as "Union Official United Auto Workers." He briefly describes himself as follows: "college degree, business; Gulf War vet, USAF; former business owner, amusement park; former county commissioner, Marshall County, Tenn.; third degree black belt, Tae Kwon Do, and Tennessee State Champion TKD 1997."

It states that he has played keyboard and sung with numerous groups, most recently Mike Goodin and the Politicians, at a variety of Middle Tennessee venues.

Wilkerson was elected to the school board in August.

When asked, Marshall County Commission Chairwoman Mary Ann Neill said she wasn't sure, but that she doubts that a conviction on a DUI charge would lead to an Ethics Committee case.

Neill is the chairwoman of that committee which, she said, would probably be "far more lenient than the criminal justice system."

An ethics case should address issues that are "more to whether the act is part of their public duty," she said, concluding, "Elected officials are held to a higher standard."

Tribune Senior Staff Writer Clint Confehr contributed to this story.