Man charged with assaulting NH School Board member Hickey & wife - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

UPDATE: 911 call sheds light on Hickey & wife assault

Wayne Cole (Source: New Hanover County Sheriff's Office) Wayne Cole (Source: New Hanover County Sheriff's Office)

New Hanover County School Board member Derrick Hickey was assaulted Friday night near his home by a man who Hickey says was "cutting up campaign signs."

According to the investigating police officer, Wayne Cole, 68 of Wilmington, is charged with two counts of simple assault and one count of property damage.

Hickey, who is a candidate for New Hanover County Commissioner, says he was returning home from dinner with his family when he saw the man damaging his signs along Greenville Loop Road.

According to Officer P. McDermott of the Wilmington Police Department, the incident happened around 8:30 p.m. Friday. Officer McDermott said Hickey confronted Cole and an altercation ensued.

Officer McDermott says Hickey was punched, and Hickey's wife was shoved during the altercation.

Cole was booked into the New Hanover County jail under a $500 secured bond.

The officer also says Cole claimed that another candidate in the commissioners' race, Skip Watkins, had several campaign signs go missing recently and Cole accused "Mr. Hickey's people" of being responsible.

Reached at home after midnight, Watkins said he had met Cole one time, through a mutual friend, and that Cole did help put out some campaign signs.

Watkins said he and many other candidates have had signs disappear during the primary campaign, and he has no idea who was responsible.

"I do not know anything about this incident and I don't know what to say," Watkins said after asking about Hickey's condition. "This is not what this race should be about. This never should have happened."

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