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County commissioner cited with allowing teen to drive car without a license

By Staff | Nov 8, 2012

A county official was cited Wednesday for allegedly letting a man, who was later charged with drug possession, drive his vehicle without a license.

Lee County Commissioner Brian Bigelow was written a criminal citation for allowing an unauthorized person – David Alexander Henley, 18, of 3828 Arnold Drive, Fort Myers – to drive a motor vehicle, according to a report.

At about 1:20 p.m., a Lee County deputy observed a car pull into the driveway of an alleged known drug house. A woman exited the home and approached the vehicle, reaching in through the driver’s side window.

It appeared as if a hand-to-hand transaction was made, the report states.

A man in the passenger’s seat exited and followed the woman inside.

The deputy was later monitoring traffic at Nuna Avenue and Tice Street when he reportedly observed the same vehicle turn left onto Tice without coming to a complete stop at the stop sign. He conducted a traffic stop.

Upon approaching the vehicle, the deputy reportedly smelled “an odor of burnt marijuana.” He asked the driver, identified as Henley, if he had a license and Henley said no. The deputy asked about the smell of marijuana.

The passenger, identified as Bigelow, said a woman at the house that they were at had walked up to the vehicle smoking marijuana, the report states.

Upon the deputy telling Henley that he was going to search the vehicle, Bigelow reportedly claimed that the vehicle was his, and that the deputy had no probable cause to search it. The deputy cited the smell of marijuana.

Henley and Bigelow were asked to exit the vehicle.

According to the report, Henley admitted that he had a “nic bag” and retrieved from his pants a small plastic bag that contained a brown and green leafy substance. The substance later tested positive for THC.

Henley was taken into custody.

A search of the vehicle revealed two white pills in a small bag inside the driver’s door compartment. Also inside the bag was a small amount of green leafy substance. Bigelow reportedly told the deputy that the pills were his.

The pills were identified as non-controlled substance pain controllers.

The green leafy substance did not test positive for THC.

The deputy reported that there were small amounts of marijuana located throughout the vehicle, including on the driver’s seat and floorboard.

Samples from the various areas did not test positive for THC.

Bigelow reportedly told deputies that the vehicle was a rental, and that it was dirty and not cleaned out when he obtained it. He allegedly stated that they went to the home to let the resident see the dog that was in the car.

Bigelow said Henley bought the dog from the woman, the report states.

Upon questioning, Henley stated that Bigelow told him to drive because he had to text. According to the report, he said he did not have a license, and Bigelow stated that it was Henley’s birthday tomorrow and “this is a gift.”

Henley also reportedly told deputies that they went to the house so he could buy weed, and that he bought weed for $25 from the woman at the home.

Bigelow denied any knowledge of what Henley said.

He was cited on scene.

Henley was charged with operate motor vehicle without valid license and marijuana possess not more than 20 grams. He was taken to the jail.

At the Lee County Jail, deputies reportedly found a small bag containing a white powder wrapped in a $20 bill that was among Henley’s belongings.

The substance tested positive for cocaine.

Henley was additionally charged with cocaine possess.

As of Thursday, he had been released on $3,000 bond.

Henley could not be reached for comment Thursday.

He has a court appearance scheduled Dec. 10.

Bigelow did not return a message seeking comment.

Bigelow resigned his seat on the Lee County Commission to run for Clerk of the Courts in the GOP primary held in August. He was unsuccessful in his bid.