Petrey mayor assaulted, warrants issued

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 26, 2005

While attempting to record the tag number off of a truck, Petrey Mayor Curtis Petrey was allegedly assaulted by the truck's owner outside a store located in the small, northern Crenshaw County community.

The incident happened last Friday, April 15.

His alleged attacker is George Russell Wilkerson, 23, of Petrey.

According to Petrey, an enraged Wilkerson punched him in the face.

"I've never had any dealings with Russ before," said Petrey. "I tried to reason with him, which I guess was a mistake. He just got madder and madder and then he swung and hit me."

After, Petrey reported the incident at the Crenshaw County Sheriff's Department and swore out warrants for Wilkerson's arrest. He also swore out warrants for John Frank Wilkerson and Jeff Wilkerson, who Petrey said verbally harassed him outside of the store prior to Russ Wilkerson's attack.

"All of them were telling me to get out of the car because they were going to beat the hell out of me," he said.

Before the altercation occurred, Petrey said he stopped at Petrey Wholesale to show the employees the town's new police car, which was donated by the City of Luverne.

Petrey said while he was stopped, Wilkerson's truck sped past the wholesale. He also said Wilkerson deliberately turned the truck around and sped past the wholesale at least three more times running a stop sign.

"It was like he was taunting the fact that we had a police car in town," Petrey said.

Petrey said he pursued the truck to a local hangout north of Petrey. As he was writing down the tag number, that was when Wilkerson emerged from the store.

"He came out in a rage," said Petrey.

Wilkerson was charged with three counts of failure to stop at a stop sign, one count of speeding and one count of assault in the third degree.

Petrey said he and the town council are working to secure a part-time police officer for Petrey.

"I've talked with Sheriff (Charles) West to see if we can get a deputy to help us out up here and he's agreed to give us some help," said Petrey. "I've also received a number of different names from people about current police officers or retired police officers that would be willing to serve our community. But our council will have to decide upon that."

The police car, which had just been freshly painted and detailed by DSA Graphics in Luverne, was also defaced. On Saturday, the vehicle was vandalized with spray paint and toilet paper. Beer cans and bottles were also placed on the hood.