Meet the local man who drove Michael Jackson

By Andrew Wittenberg  - bio | email | Twitter

PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) - For nearly a decade, Phenix City native Jeff Mitchell was the man behind the scenes, driving some of the biggest stars, from Jermaine Dupri to the Doobie Brothers around the country.

He's even escorted high rollers to the Super Bowl, working for Star Coaches, Incorporated of Atlanta.

In April of 2004, he got the call for his most memorable trip.

"I wasn't allowed to tell anybody who I was with, in fact, the company I drove for was not even allowed to know where we were," Mitchell recalls.

But Mitchell has proof.

He drove Michael Jackson from Washington D.C. to Miami, a three day trip.

From the start, he knew this journey would be different.

"From the time he got on the bus at Tyson's corner, he never came off until we made our stop in Miami," Mitchell said.

That's not all.

Mitchell says security was tight.

He was escorted by body guards 24 hours a day, everyday.

The motor coach he was driving was inspected from top to bottom before anyone boarded.

He could only make phone calls at certain times, could only stop at certain exits, and could only go to certain bathrooms.

"They would go in and check the bathroom, then we would get to go in the bathroom," Mitchell said.

"They would follow us around, to make sure, one, to make sure we were safe, and two, to make sure we didn't talk to nobody to tell them who we had. This had to be a very secretive thing," Mitchell said.

Although Mitchell had limited interaction with Jackson, he befriended some of the closest members of his entourage and says, he wasn't shocked when he heard the news.

"There was a bit of depression that you would hear the family talk about and folks around him, that he was depressed," Mitchell said.

After a whirlwind three day voyage with the "King of Pop," Mitchell realized being behind the scenes wasn't so bad after all.