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Wingfield charges may be expanded

Photo by Jim Hendricks

Photo by Jim Hendricks

ALBANY, Ga. -- A traffic stop in downtown turned into a drug bust involving Dontonio Wingfield, an area youth program founder, said Albany-Dougherty Drug Unit Maj. Bill Berry.

Officers attempted to stop Wingfield in a 2010 silver Chevrolet Tahoe near the Hilton Garden Inn on the 100 block of South front Street Monday afternoon, Berry said. The rented Tahoe had had an improper tag, Berry added.

The Tahoe didn't stop immediately. When it did, a passenger ran from officers at the location, Berry said.

Chauncey Carter, 36, of Atlanta dropped a bag with about 10 bags of marijuana in it near the RiverQuarium as he ran, Berry added.

As he ran, Carter was caught in an alley by a retired Albany Police Department officer. A search of the Tahoe revealed digital scales, Berry said.

"We'll have a sit down to discuss the case with the district attorney," Berry said. "Then we'll see if we add drug charges to Wingfield."

Wingfield, charged with driving while his license was suspended and for having an improper tag was released from the Dougherty County jail on $1,200 bond, said a jail spokeswoman.

Carter, charged with obstruction of an officer, tampering with evidence and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, remains in jail in lieu of $6,000 bond, she added.

Wingfield is widely regarded as the top basketball player to come from Albany. He starred on a series of championship Westover High School teams before playing college ball at the University of Cincinnati. From there, he went to the NBA, where he had a short career.

Any hopes of returning to professional basketball were dashed in a car accident that almost killed him. Before the wreck, he found trouble for assaulting law enforcement officers responding to a fight at his then-girlfriend's residence in Cincinnati.

After recovering from the crash, Wingfield got a culinary arts degree in Cincinnati. He then returned to Albany, where he began working with youth organizations, such as an AAU basketball team, the Albany Hawks. Most recently, Wingfield has been active in an organization called Save Our Sons (SOS). That program focuses on providing alternatives to gangs and crime for young Albany males.