PITTSBORO — A Chatham County District Court judge dropped all five charges of assault with a deadly weapon against a Pittsboro Elementary School teacher last Wednesday after reviewing the case and hearing character references from his neighbors.
On July 30, Eric Hudson was arrested and charged after an incident that had occurred on July 10. Two teens involved — a brother and a sister — told the News + Record that on that day, Hudson chased after the car in which they and three others were traveling on Pleasant Hill Road. Hudson is accused of chasing the teens, passing them in his car, and stopping suddenly in front of them, causing a collision. The teens say Hudson appeared to brandish a gun in the process of confronting them. Hudson continued to follow the teens, they say, until they were able to elude him.
After further investigation into the incident, the District Attorney’s Office said it was unlikely Hudson had a gun in the incident. While the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office listed a handgun as a “weapon” on its official report, a copy of the original arrest warrant for Hudson, dated July 30, lists the “deadly weapon” as a gray Lexus and doesn’t refer to a gun.
At a Jan. 25 court appearance, the assault charges were dropped, but Hudson did accept the charges of injury to personal property.
“He came in and he pled and took responsibility for careless and reckless driving and injury to personal property,” Assistant District Attorney Lynn Kelly told the News + Record. ”He has been ordered to do an anger management class and community service.”
The injury to personal property amounted to about $200 worth of damage to a vehicle driven by one of the teens.
The DA’s office also said it received several letters and references from people who live in Hudson’s neighborhood on River Bend Road. Neighbors also vigorously defended Hudson in letters to the editor in the News + Record. They said youngsters had been encroaching upon their property in cars and speeding along the private gravel roadway for decades, trespassing and vandalizing.
“I don’t think that the evidence showed that he (Hudson) tried to run them off the road rose to the level of assault with a deadly weapon, which is one of the reasons that we did what we did,” Kelly said.
Kelly said Hudson, who had no previous criminal record, acknowledged wrongdoing in the incident. She also acknowledged that decades of curious trespassers — some exploring rumors of an alleged Satanic church along the road, a falsehood Hudson’s neighbors say has plagued them and their tranquility — played a role in Hudson’s actions.
Pursuant to Hudson’s engagement in community service and anger management courses, the five counts of assault with a deadly weapon will be dropped.
Hudson had worked as a 4th-grade teacher at Pittsboro Elementary until around Jan. 6, when he was apparently suspended from his position after Chatham County Schools officials learned of his case. Hudson’s employment status with Chatham County Schools is unclear as of Tuesday. CCS would not comment on Hudson’s employment status.
Reporter Ben Rappaport can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @b_rappaport.
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here