Former Lee County commissioner back in jail after positive cocaine test

David Albers/Staff
Former Lee County commissioner Brian Bigelow makes his first appearance via a web camera in the courtroom of Lee County Judge Leigh Frizzell Hayes, on Friday, Jan. 18, 2013, in Fort Myers. Bigelow was arrested early Friday morning and charged with felony charge of possession of cocaine and misdemeanor charges of possession of drug equipment and loitering.

Photo by DAVID ALBERS // Buy this photo

David Albers/Staff Former Lee County commissioner Brian Bigelow makes his first appearance via a web camera in the courtroom of Lee County Judge Leigh Frizzell Hayes, on Friday, Jan. 18, 2013, in Fort Myers. Bigelow was arrested early Friday morning and charged with felony charge of possession of cocaine and misdemeanor charges of possession of drug equipment and loitering.

Brian Bigelow

LCSO

Brian Bigelow

Brian Bigelow's arrest mug

LCSO

Brian Bigelow's arrest mug

David Albers/Staff
Former Lee County commissioner Brian Bigelow makes his first appearance via a web camera in the courtroom of Lee County Judge Leigh Frizzell Hayes, on Friday, Jan. 18, 2013, in Fort Myers. Bigelow was arrested early Friday morning and charged with felony charge of possession of cocaine and misdemeanor charges of possession of drug equipment and loitering.

Photo by DAVID ALBERS // Buy this photo

David Albers/Staff Former Lee County commissioner Brian Bigelow makes his first appearance via a web camera in the courtroom of Lee County Judge Leigh Frizzell Hayes, on Friday, Jan. 18, 2013, in Fort Myers. Bigelow was arrested early Friday morning and charged with felony charge of possession of cocaine and misdemeanor charges of possession of drug equipment and loitering.

Video from NBC-2

— Former Lee County commissioner Brian Bigelow likely will remain in jail until his drug case is resolved after testing positive for cocaine while on pretrial release.

Bigelow, who spent six years on the commission, landed back in jail Tuesday, about two weeks after his arrest on a charge of cocaine possession. As part of his pretrial release, the 49-year-old was subject to random drug and alcohol screenings. A warrant signed Monday indicated Bigelow tested positive for cocaine at a Jan. 30 drug test.

Bigelow likely won’t receive pretrial release following the positive test. He was booked into jail at 9 a.m. Tuesday. No attorney is listed in court records for Bigelow.

“He needs to be in a program,” Commissioner Frank Mann told NBC-2 of his former colleague. “He told me he’d do that and hasn’t done it in time. I hope that happens.”

Following his mid-January arrest by Fort Myers police, Bigelow had been out on $12,000 bond after pleading not guilty to charges of cocaine possession, drug equipment possession and loitering. Officers said they found Bigelow with 11 small bags of cocaine while he was outside an apartment complex in a high-crime area of the city early one morning.

Bigelow also had a run-in with Lee County sheriff’s officials in October 2012, when deputies said he allowed an unlicensed teenage driver in possession of marijuana and cocaine behind the wheel of his rental car. The teenager was arrested on drug charges, while Bigelow received a citation for letting the teen drive.

For six years, Bigelow served residents of District 2, which covers much of Fort Myers and a swath of eastern Lee County. He vacated the seat to run for Lee County clerk of courts, losing the August 2012 primary. Four months later, Bigelow’s father Charles, also a former commissioner, died of a heart attack.

Commissioner Cecil Pendergrass, who took over Bigelow’s seat, offered encouragement to his predecessor after a commission meeting Tuesday morning.

“I wish him health and happiness,” Pendergrass said. “I hope this will be a wake-up call and encourage him to receive treatment.”

Staff writer Sabina Bhasin contributed to this report.

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