Band Director charged

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 5, 2007

AHOSKIE – A melee that broke out between rival bands has led to charges.

During the halftime of Friday’s Bertie-Hertford County football game, the bands of the two schools were involved in an altercation on the field.

The incident began when the marching band from Bertie was performing during the halftime show. With approximately 10 minutes remaining in the half, the Hertford County High School band began taking the field.

Moments later, a fight erupted between the two rival units resulting in a group of law enforcement officers, school personnel and security being forced to separate the students.

During the brawl, one student hurled a drum into the crowd, striking another student on the head. After the incident, three students were transported to Roanoke-Chowan Hospital. All were believed to have suffered only minor injuries.

Despite the skirmish, the officials allowed the football game to continue. Bertie went on to secure the victory by a 34-3 final.

According to Ahoskie Police Department Major Jimmy Asbell, officers began investigating the incident and interviewing those involved immediately after it was under control.

After some investigation, Hertford County High School band director Frank Williams was arrested and charged with inciting a riot.

Williams, 61, who gave a Chesapeake, Virginia address, was released on a written promise to appear.

Whether or not the school district has or will take disciplinary action was not known as of press time Monday because Hertford County Public Schools’ Superintendent Dr. Michael G. Basham was away Monday on district business and was unavailable to comment.

The system’s Director of Security, Curtis A. Freeman, called the incident unfortunate, but said it was dealt with quickly and without risk of injury to those who came to watch the game.

“We were able to get there quickly and deal with the situation,” Freeman said. “While officers and security personnel dealt with the situation on the field, there were others who stayed around the field to protect everyone else.”

While only Williams has been charged in the incident thus far, Major Asbell said others could face consequences for their actions as the investigation continues.