The North Carolina State Highway Patrol reported that the trooper was off-duty when involved in an Asheville car accident at the intersection of Airport Road and Fanning Bridge Road. He was arrested and charged with driving while impaired and felony hit and run, according to the patrol. He had been a trooper since 1999.
The Asheville Citizen-Times reported that the trooper was drunk when he ran a red light and hit a car, seriously injuring a Franklin man. An officer reportedly stopped the trooper’s Nissan Titan on Hendersonville Road after the wreck, which occurred shortly before midnight. The trooper refused to perform field sobriety tests or to take a breathalyzer examination, according to a search warrant that was obtained to force a blood test. Results of that test have not been completed.
The trooper was listed as “unemployed” on the search warrant and resigned from his position 15 minutes later, according to the highway patrol. The arresting officer reported the trooper smelled of alcohol and was unsteady on his feet.
It is the latest of several high-profile incidents involving the patrol, which has led to the resignation of a number of troopers. Meanwhile, the patrol announced new guidelines on Friday that are meant to reduce the number of North Carolina car accidents that result from police chases, according to media reports.
The new policy will require more supervisor oversight when chases begin. Other police agencies will also have to request the involvement of the patrol before a trooper will join a pursuit. Statistics show a significant number of chases so far this year that have involved the highway patrol:
Greenville area: 40 chases in 2008 compared to 36 in 2009.
Fayetteville: 67 in 2008 versus 72 in 2009.
Raleigh: 74 in 2008 versus 64 in 2009.
Greensboro: 38 in 2008 versus 43 in 2009.
Salisbury: 46 in 2008 versus 45 in 2009.
Newtown: 30 in 2008 versus 29 in 2009.
Asheville: 39 in 2008 versus 23 in 2009.
Charlotte: 68 in 2008 versus 75 in 2009.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, contact the North Carolina injury lawyers at Lee & Smith today for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 800-887-1965.