Correction: The original story indicated, based on statements provided to the News + Record and the criminal report of the incident, that the roadway near Mr. Hudson's property was public. The story has been updated to correctly state the road is private. In addition, after publication of the story, the News + Record spoke with several neighbors of Mr. Hudson who also said rumors of "goat heads on spikes" and a "devil church" were false; they said the alleged victims in the case mistakenly identified sculptures in a yard in the neighborhood, and said rumors of a Satanic church in the neighborhood had persisted for decades. Neighbors said they have experienced years of trespassing and vandalism due to these rumors. Language in this story has been updated to reflect this information.
SILER CITY — Chatham County Schools says it is addressing a situation involving a 4th-grade teacher who faces five counts of assault with a deadly weapon in connection with an incident that occurred after he was hired — but before his first day of work.
Eric Hudson, 45, who last Friday was a listed teacher on Pittsboro Elementary School’s faculty, faces a Jan. 18 court date following an incident that took place last July.
According to the incident report filed by the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office, Hudson threatened the victims with a gun. He also is charged with destruction to personal property.
Neither Hudson nor his attorney, Amos Tyndall of Carrboro, would speak on the record to the News + Record about events of July 10, in which a group of teenagers say they were chased and attacked by Hudson along a road in rural Chatham County near Siler City.
Two of the victims of the alleged attack, a brother and sister, told the News + Record they, and three other friends, went to explore an area on a road near Hudson’s property in Siler City.
The area, both the children and the children’s mother said, is rumored as a “devil church.” The brother and sister believed there were goat heads on spikes on the property nearby; neighbors disputed that.
Neighbors of the property told the News + Record Thursday these false rumors have frequently caused trespassing on their private roadway for more than 30 years. Neighbors said teenagers frequently vandalize properties and speed along the driveway, and that they've been unsuccessful to get law enforcement to address the problem.
The News + Record is not naming the victims, who are minors.
A group visited the private property twice on Sunday, July 10, once in the morning and again in the afternoon around 1:30 p.m. In the morning, one said they saw a man “waving and yelling, but it was unclear what he said.”
When the five teens went back in the afternoon, the same man saw their car and began running toward them. Soon, they say they noticed the man was driving behind them in a silver Lexus SUV.
“He sped up, ran in front of us, and hit his brakes, and we ran into the back of him,” one of the siblings in the car said.
The group attempting to drive away, but the man in the Lexus passed them on the road, “and stopped very quickly,” the other of the siblings said.
“We didn’t have enough time to completely stop and rear-ended him,” the sibling said. “After that we got around him then he passed us again and stopped like before. This time he got out and ran at us and had what looked like a gun, and hit the [driver’s side] window with it. I immediately called 911. He was still chasing us then he stopped after we got close to the end of the road.”
As they drove off onto U.S. Hwy. 64, the man followed them for several more miles until they lost him around Pleasant Hill Church Road.
After an investigation, Hudson was arrested on July 30 by Chatham Sheriff’s Office Deputy Matthew Mitchell and issued a written promise to appear in Chatham County District Court in Pittsboro on August 15.
His case was continued until his next scheduled appearance on Wednesday, Jan. 18.
The entrance to the gravel drive near Hudson's property is clearly marked as a private road with "no trespassing" signs, according to images shared with the News + Record of the entrance to the roadway.
“I don’t usually stir any pots,” the mother of the children involved in the incident said, “but he teaches children. People need to know who’s teaching their children.”
The News + Record made an inquiry to Chatham County Schools last Friday about Hudson’s pending court case, at which time Hudson was listed as a faculty member at Pittsboro Elementary School.
“Once the district was made aware of this issue, the administration followed district policy in addressing it,” CCS spokeperson Nancy Wykle told the News + Record.
Hudson was not listed on the school’s website on Monday.
Publisher & Editor Bill Horner III contributed reporting