School board member: prescription combo lead to misdemeanor assault

School board member: prescription combo lead to misdemeanor assault

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"I just want people to know how sorry I am for what happened and that my family forgives me and we just want to put this behind us and continue with business at hand," Bill Phillips said. "I just want people to know how sorry I am for what happened and that my family forgives me and we just want to put this behind us and continue with business at hand," Bill Phillips said.

By SHELBY BAKER
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- Knox County School Board member Bill Phillips says a combination of prescription and over-the-counter drugs may have lead to an incident with his family that ended in a guilty plea earlier in February for misdemeanor assault.

Sunday night, he sat down with 6 News to share his side of the story.

"I just want people to know how sorry I am for what happened and that my family forgives me and we just want to put this behind us and continue with business at hand," Phillips said.

Phillips pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault on February 12. It involved a confrontation with his wife the day after Christmas.

Karen Phillips says her husband put an object to her stomach and asked if she "was ready for this life to end." 

6 News asked Phillips if he threatened Karen with a gun.  He says the object in question was actually a tactical flashlight. 

Phillips also said the night of the incident he had taken a combination of prescription Ambien, and Pepcid for complications from gastric bypass surgery.

"My wife met with our doctor to see if the combination could have contributed to my thinking and behavior and we think it did."

He says he's sorry his actions put the school board in a difficult situation, but he doesn't believe a personal matter should cast any doubt on his ability to represent the 8th District.

"It has to impact it to a certain degree, but like I said, this did not involve a student, a teacher or anything of that nature. It was strictly a family matter," Phillips said. 

Knox County Law Director Bill Lockett says the board has no legal authority to remove Phillips and Phillips says he has no plans to step down.

"I feel that going through this has actually made me a better school board member and a better person for the whole system," Phillips said.

Phillips is scheduled to meet with the Ethics Committee on February 24 to discuss the incident. 

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