A volunteer Oak Island Water Rescue team member was arrested at his home on suspicion of driving while impaired and hit-and-run Thursday. A minor car accident reportedly occurred in the vicinity of a helicopter crash that had been reported off Oak Island, North Carolina that same day.
The man now accused of North Carolina DWI charges says that he was not responding to the helicopter crash. The water rescue team confirms that the assistant chief of the crew was not on duty during the helicopter incident.
Authorities claim that the emergency rescue worker had backed his car into a vehicle in the vicinity of the Oak Island Pier around the same time as the helicopter accident was being looked into. Police claim the man had fled the scene of the car accident. An Oak Island Police officer went to the water rescue team chief’s home and found the chief in his car. The car was parked in the garage, with the engine off and the man’s foot on the brake pedal, according to law enforcement.
The officer claims the water rescue chief had said that he had responded to the helicopter crash earlier, but denied any knowledge of a minor car accident. The officer claims that the water rescue chief failed field sobriety tests and later blew a 0.13 percent alcohol level during a breath test at the police station, according to the DWI arrest report.
The volunteer rescue team worker reportedly says that his dog had died at the groomers and he had a few drinks early Thursday. He says he went to bed Thursday afternoon and thought that he had slept long enough after drinking, according to the Wilmington Star News. He says he went to a friend’s house Thursday evening, which is near the pier, according to the newspaper.
The man appeared before a magistrate after his arrest and was reportedly released on a written promise to appear on the DWI charges. No court date has yet been set.
Source: Wilmington Star News, “Oak Island water rescue chief charged with DWI,” F. T. Norton, June 15, 2012