County deputy has his day in court

From Staff Reports

   Capturing a fleeing prisoner doesn't hurt when you're standing before a Criminal Court judge on worthless check charges.
   Carter County Sheriff's Department Lt. Rocky Croy, who has a 21-year law-enforcement career under his belt and is a candidate for County Commissioner in the 4th District, was awaiting his turn before Criminal Court Judge Lynn Brown on Tuesday when an inmate fled through the courtroom door.
   Croy responded automatically, bolting after the prisoner, identified as Jerry Ray Oaks, 20, 920 S. Second St.
   Oaks, who was in court on charges of aggravated burglary, attempted aggravated robbery, theft, felony evading arrest and felony reckless endangerment, also is wanted by Mitchell County, N.C., authorities.
   Croy pursued Oaks as he ran outside, chasing him a couple blocks to an area near the Covered Bridge, where he took him into custody. When the lieutenant returned to the courtroom, Prosecutor Ken Baldwin recommended the charges against him be dismissed on behalf of the state.
   The checks, which totaled less than $40, were written to a local supermarket on an account that Croy and his wife, Cindy, had closed. The couple thought the checks already had cleared the bank when they closed the account. He said he had not been notified about them until he was served a warrant.
   When Lt. Croy appeared in General Sessions Court, he thought he could just pay the checks and the charges would be dismissed. Instead, without realizing, he agreed to plead guilty to the charges and with the help of attorney Stacy Street, appealed the case to Criminal Court.
   Had Lt. Croy been convicted, it would have cost him his law-enforcement career.