LUMBERTON — A Lumberton police officer who is under suspension is now facing charges of driving in excess of 100 mph through downtown Fairmont.
Officer Claudie Lowery was suspended without pay June 15 after the Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission determined that there was probable cause to believe he shot at his then 16-year-old neighbor — a charge for which he was found not guilty in Robeson County court.
After his suspension, Lowery, according to a police report, led a Fairmont police officer on a high-speed chase that spanned more than a mile.
According to a police report, Lowery was driving back from the beach just before midnight on July 7 when a Fairmont officer clocked his speed at 79 mph in a 35-mph zone. The officer, who was parked at South Robeson Rescue near the intersection of Walnut and Gertrude streets, noted that when the vehicle came by “it shook [his] patrol car.”
The officer activated his lights and siren, but Lowery did not stop and passed another vehicle in a no-passing zone, the report said.
According to the report, Lowery ran a red light at the intersection of Cottage and Walnut streets, “becoming airborne.” The report said Lowery’s pickup truck reached 106 mph, and that he had been driving left of the center-line throughout the pursuit.
The officer states in the report that he caught up to Lowery near Chicken Road — about a mile and a half from where his speed was originally clocked and a mile from where the officer activated his lights — and Lowery stopped.
According to the report, Lowery identified himself as a Lumberton police officer and, when asked why he was driving so fast, said his vehicle had a transmission problem. Lowery also told the officer he could have lost him during the pursuit if he wanted to by taking back roads, the report said.
He was charged with speeding, reckless driving to endanger, speeding to elude arrest and failure to heed lights and sirens. The officer noted that Lowery was not aggressive during the interaction.
Allegations that Lowery had fired shots at his teenage neighbor in January 2014 and pointed a gun at the teen’s mother and brother came under review by the state Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission in May. Lowery appealed the commission’s decision earlier this month.
According to a letter from the Department of Justice’s Criminal Justice Standards Division to Lowery, the Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission found probable cause to believe Lowery did commit the crimes he was charged with before being found not guilty in May 2014.
The division recommended on June 4 that Lowery be suspended from the Police Department. He joined the Lumberton Police Department on Feb. 18, 2009.
Additionally, the commission determined that, in light of such conduct, Lowery is not in compliance with the minimum standards for certification as a law enforcement officer set forth by the state and recommended his law enforcement certification be suspended indefinitely.
“The Probable Cause Committee found that the facts and circumstances surrounding you committing the offense of ‘assault with a deadly weapon’ and you committing the two offenses of ‘assault by pointing a gun’ are indicative that you lack the good moral character required of a law enforcement officer,” the letter says.
According to the Office of Administrative Hearings, Lowery appealed the ruling on July 7, but a response detailing why his certification should not be revoked had not been filed on Thursday afternoon.
During his two-day trial, Lowery said he was in his Pleasant Hope Road home in Fairmont on Jan. 13, 2014, when the lights went out momentarily and he heard a banging sound at his back door. Believing there was an intruder at the home, Lowery got a handgun and a rifle and went out his front door. Lowery said he saw a black male run by him and fired shots.
Sarah Willets can be reached at 910-816-1974 or on Twitter @Sarah_Willets.