Deputy’s reckless driving charge dismissed


Tags:

Submitted: Wed, 10/20/2010 - 10:04pm
Updated: Wed, 01/08/2014 - 9:32pm
By:

From reckless driving to dismissed. She wrecked her muscle car going about 100 miles an hour. In February, prosecutors charged the Brunswick County Deputy with reckless driving. But last week, the charge was dismissed.

The Shallotte Police Department investigated the accident. Chief Rodney Gause said Samantha Lewis did not get preferential treatment because she is a Sheriff’s Deputy. Investigators say Lewis was driving south on Highway 17 eight months ago, talking on her cell phone to one of the deputies she was trying to pass.

She was off-duty and in her personal car, a brand new 2010 Ford Mustang. At about 100 miles per hour, Lewis lost control of the car, ran off the road into a ditch, and rolled about 420 feet, nearly a football field and a half. Lewis was rushed to the hospital with serious injuries.

In March, Shallotte Police cited Lewis with careless and reckless driving. But last week, her charge was dismissed. Brunswick County Assistant District Attorney Cathi Radford said dismissals are common in single car accidents where the insurance pays for the damage, as Lewis’s did. Lewis has recovered from her injuries and is back on the force.

A spokeswoman for the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office says Sheriff John Ingram “took action” against Lewis but would not go into detail because she says it’s a personnel issue.

47 Comments

  • Guest9979 says:

    You can not believe me if you like, but I never got a ticket or ever had to go to court. To this day I still have no idea what my mother said the the trooper on duty that day.

  • Guest360 says:

    Maybe you were inexperienced, but she is a so-called “police officer”. She is supposed to have had training in high speed driving. Obviously, she must have missed some classes. I used to be a police officer, but at that time we were much more professional than they seem to be now.

  • DARRELL HAYES says:

    It is something when the law charges a person with something that they do themselves isn’t it?

  • djewel73 says:

    Was simple. The speeding standard in NC is pretty straight forward you cant convict unless you have them on radar or paced. The speed was simply estimated based on skid marks which arent admissable in court. The DA even admitted it and any LE Officer in NC will tell ya its the truth. The standard is the same in many states. Nobody can be convicted without proof beyond a reasonable doubt and sadly skid marks dont reach that standard due to tire composition and such (hard vs soft and temperature rating etc) no 2 tires are even the same.. So before ya go shooting the messenger they followed the law and her lawyer earned his pay end of story. I do agree though Im betting shes on a very short leash. While she maybe back at work theres nothing that says what shes doing she could be working in the jail or something for the time being.

  • Guest327 says:

    Yes, Chief Gause did charge her, but by saying she did not get any special treatment, makes him appear to be one of the “good ‘ol boys” who think just because you carry a badge you can break any law you want to on or off duty with no consequences.

  • Guest911 says:

    Whether its bruswick or new hanover we have these instances of what is clearly a whitewash—if it were john smith or mary jones- we might be in jail–but leave it to DAs to take care of good ole boys-
    this took place many times with Sherriff Causey in NHC- not suprised to see same gamesmanship in Bruswick– we need new blood at all levels- DA- Sherriff –and every other office- lets get rid of good ole boys who tolerate this kind of a whitewash

  • Guest 2010 says:

    The officer she was observed by should be charged with dereliction of duty. The badge does not give automatic immunity to law violations. The officer whom she was passing is the person I would zero in on if I was the Sheriff. He is as guilty as the immature lady officer who was showing off.

    Picture this scenario: I am driving down 17 at 75 mph. A trooper clocks me and cites me. I go to court and plead that only one car was involved so the charges should be dismissed. It ain’t gonna happen. There goes my license and my insurance rates are astronomical for several years.

    Now picture this: I am a young man who has recently bought a new Mustang. I get it up to 100 mph and being young and immature, not able to handle a high speed car. Suddenly, it gets away from me. I total the car. A trooper cites me. A sheriff’s deputy is a witness who can verify that I passed him while he was driving the speed limit. The deputy can testify that I was gnawing on my cell phone when I whizzed by him. Sounds like a pretty solid case to me.

    In both instances cited above, laws were violated. In one case, no one was hurt and there was no property damage. In the second case, there was property damage and personal injury. In the first case, there is no way that the court will dismiss the case. In the second case, the violater gets to walk.

    Am I wrong to think that there was undue influence involved here?

    She violated several common sense driving rules. Yet, she is allowed to drive county owned “high performance” cruisers at any speed she wants to. This is a chance the people shouldn’t take. What happens to the county insurance if she wrecks a police car and injures or, God forbid, takes a life. This may come back to haunt the county if she is this careless. It may happen again with dire consequences.

  • Guest 2010 says:

    Are you kidding?

    Unsafe speed is still on the books.

    Reckless driving is still on the books.

    The deputy that saw her can be required to testify truthfully as to what he observed. In fact, he should be required to be deposed by State Training and Standards.

    If it happened to Joe Blow, the correct charge would be applied and the shyster wouldn’t have a chance to get her off—unless undue influence was applied.

    I can see a career for her as a jailer but not a job requiring her to be driving a county car. The risk is too great.

    This scientific stuff is OK in textbooks but worthless in traffic cases. Judges have common sense and the facts are that the lady was violating the law. They know when smoke is being blown. The prosecutor used poor judgment here. He wouldn’t dismiss the case for you or me based upon the facts clearly presented.

  • Guest327 says:

    OK, maybe the law does state certain specifics about what is needed to convict someone for speeding, but circumstantial evidence certainly tells anyone with any common sense, that in order to skid as far as she did and roll the length of a football field and a half, she was not going less than 100 mph. Many people have been convicted on circumstantial evidence, why not her?

  • Guest327 says:

    Is there any kind of speed monitoring device in county police cars? If so, this would show how fast the cruiser was going as she passed them. Maybe the driver of the cruiser knows how fast he was going, but would probably not rat out his pal as “professional courtesy”. Maybe he needs to be put under oath, anyhow. It is too late for court, but maybe not for the board of Training & Standards. I think the sheriff in Columbus County has something to do with the standards board in this area which includes Brunswick County. Might ring him up.

  • Grand Ole Party says:

    Let us know how that works out for you. At least you will have a decent job and not be flipping hash at the Waffle House.

  • Guest says:

    Very few deputies, if any, get trained in pursuit or high speed driving. Traffic enforcement is low on a sheriff’s department role. Their main duty is to serve processes, investigate crimes, and detain inmates. There is not enough money in the budget to allow for a lot of traffic enforcement, thus no need for this type specialized training. There is barely enough personnel for their assigned duties.

    Some larger police departments and heavily populated county’s sheriff’s departments can afford to send traffic officers for training in pursuit driving. My opinion, for what it is worth, is to let the Highway Patrol handle traffic outside the town limits. The deputies have enough on their plate than to work traffic. Certainly, they can write citations for violations but that is not their specialty.

  • NHC Native says:

    Exactly what crimes did McMahon let anyone get away with? Those who served under him that screwed up were subjected to investigations. Those who broke the rules either resigned or were released from their jobs.

    Hewett went to jail because he was found guilty in a court of law and was sentenced. End. Of. Story.

  • Guest says:

    What kind of example does this set for our new divers in Brunswick County? Everyday I teach my students the dangers of excessevie speed and the penalty under NC law if they speed. Now one of own own officers makes a mistake in judgement similiar to one a 16 year old would have made and we are sweeping it under the rug. Our young people are smart, how I supposed to explain this to a new driver? Whatever the law reads, she should be at least assigned community service on her off time to speak to young drivers about what can and will happen. Maybe this way some good will come out of this.

  • John S says:

    Why isn’t WWAY doing actual journalism. Ingram always hides secrets even if it’s against the law. NC has very elaborate open records, submit an official request for the information referencing Chapter 132, Public Records, and find out the discipline. Ingram will keep acting like he is King and needs not explain himself as long as you let him.

  • hb girl says:

    I THINK I’LL SIGN UP THE THE BLET CLASS SO I CAN BECOME A DEPUTY,THEN I CAN DRIVE EVER HOW FAST I WANT, DRINK & DRIVE, TALK ON THE CELL PHONE & DO WHATEVER I PLEASE & GET AWAY WITH IT. SOUNDS LIKE A PLAN TO ME.

  • hb girl says:

    FYI, Sorry,but I don’t work at the Waffle House. You must be thinking of someone else. I work at Brunswick Community Hospital.

  • Guest12 says:

    Although I am not by any means condoning what happened, I feel like a few things need to be cleared up. The DA is the one that dismissed the case, not the Sheriff and not Chief Gause. Chief Gause did his part by charging her. What this article does not state, but one on the Star News did, is that she DID have to make a trip to Raleigh and go before the NC Sheriff’s Standards Commission. They are the ones that decide if a deputy keeps their job or not in a situation like this. They apparently cleared her to return to work and also ruled out any horse playing on the other Deputies part. I don’t really care for the message that the DA’s office is sending by saying that in single car accidents as long as insurance pays for it that it gets dismissed? That is a bunch of crap. If they do do that, then I definitely think it’s time for a new DA, which we will be getting in November, so hopefully that will change.

  • Guest100 says:

    Wow, Can’t say much more thn that. Let’s see talking on her phone, trying to pass a Deputy doing 100 mph, wrecking her brand new car, charges dismissed, remains a deputy, PRICELESS. Hmm, I am quite sure if that was anyone else, the book would have been thrown at them. Where is the justice in this case? I wonder.

  • Guest says:

    The way I read this it’s ok to Drive at that kind of speed in Shallotte just don’t have a accident. I’m guessing it’s still ok to talk on the Cell phone while passing an on duty Deputy also, If she was trying to pass the Deputy how fast were they going?

  • Guest says:

    who was the officer she was passing and why didnt that officer get her for speeding sounds like special treatment to me

  • Guest1234 says:

    Let’s see you are driving 100 miles per hour and trying to pass a police officer. Okay, aren’t you supposed to uphold the law in every aspect of the law when you become a police officer? But, somehow it is ok that she was driving this fast and could have put others at risk? What if there had been children or others in the place where she ran off the road? That there wasn’t made it ok to dismiss the case? Had this had been another person they would have suspended their license. i don’t understand how it is that police officers can get away with what they do wrong. I have witnessed them put their lights on at intersections and when they get through the light turn their lights out again. Not to mention they pass everyone who is going the speed limit and when others do this we get the ticket. I for one know they get special treatment when they have done something wrong. She knew what she was doing the whole time she was driving that car and she should be ashamed to call herself a police officer. She put everyones life at risk when she got behind the wheel of that car. Look at the picture that is all I have to say.

  • Guest350 says:

    I never really expected a different outcome, but this is not right. Whatever happened to having your driver’s license automatically suspended for driving over 75? Guess sworn officers have a different set of laws that apply only to them. Of course, with the total idiots at the District Attorneys office, I suppose this was to be expected. Thank goodness they will be gone soon. Rodney Gause should have kept his mouth shut, as he, too has now lost a lot of respect from the people he serves. Sheriff Ingram will lose a lot of respect, as well. I assure you, if it had been anyone other than a law enforcement officer involved, they would have paid a hefty price, as well and lost their license, as per NC law. I hope everyone in Brunswick County remembers this the next time they are pulled over and given a costly ticket for a much lesser offense.

  • Guest says:

    This is not the first time that the DA’s office has worked with the Sheriff’s / Police Dept to sweep stuff under the rug. This is not the first time that they have picked and chose what will be prosecuted. That is why the Sheriff’s Dept and the DA’s offices need to be replaced.

    Ronald Hewett was surrounded with people in the dept committing crimes against him and the County during his investigation, but it didn’t matter….

    The County Commissioners were literally stealing money from Brunswick County Taxpayers, but that didn’t matter …

    Sheriff Ingram committed pergury in the newspaper and lets his girlfriend stay in his home regularly, which is a misdeamenor in NC, but that doesn’t matter neither…..

    Just like this deputy committing crimes that others can’t get by with. Brunswick County Government at its finest…..It’s not what you know, it is who you know…..

  • Wolfgang says:

    Thank you, WWAY, for continuing to expose corruption wherever it occurs. And it looks to me like Brunswick County is a corruption hotbed.

    Lewis was passing another deputy at a speed of 100 mph while talking on her cell phone!

    And this is not careless and reckless driving.

    Lewis is obviously a reckless fool, and she needs to be fired immediately. This is infuriating!

  • Guest9979 says:

    When I was 16 I rolled my brand new Mustang totaling it. At the time I lost control of the car my estimated speed was between 70-80mph. I walked away from that accident uninjured and with no ticket at all. I was an inexperienced driver who paniced and hit the gas when I hit a slippery spot on the road causing the acceleration. Not saying what she did was ok, but these situations do happen. The only reason anyone is making an issue of this is because she is a deputy. I was nobody special, had no connections and I was let walk. So people if something like this happens stay calm and work the system.

  • Guest effect says:

    Have these sheriffs lost their minds? First it was McMahon letting people get away with crimes and now this. Makes me wonder what the big deal about Hewett and how he ended up in jail.

    I say let’s dump the lot and start over. If I lived in New Hanover County Id fire that McMahon fellow in a heartbeat. Ill make my vote here though.

  • Guest390 says:

    She was not on duty when this accident happened, so the same rules apply to her (or should) as any other driver. She was just showing off and couldn’t handle the Mustang and it got away from her. If I ever need police assistance, hope they don’t send her.

  • anne says:

    This is the most ridiculous thing I have every seen. Why isn’t she being held responsible for not only stupidity, but breaking how many laws? Do they really expect people to respect her as law enforcement when she broke all the laws she is supposed to uphold? Don’t think so. This is a worst case of mis-justice (hope that is a word) that I have seen in a long time. She shouldn’t have a driving license, and she certainly shouldn’t be enforcing laws that she can’t even obey!

  • Irritated says:

    Where do I start? Talking on a cell phone, driving in excess of 100 MPH, and trying to past another Deputy……It appears they might have been playing around. The Deputy should have been charged also because it appears he was contributing to the accident. She was very careless and wreckless to say the least. What would have happened if she hit someone and killed or even mangled them up? Would it have been dismissed? Now she is back on the force? How can you respect someone like that? She does not have any right to ticket someone else when she has done the same or worse. Yes, it was a single car accident but only by the grace of God. She should be charged along with the Deputy that was along beside her. She should also be demoted to a desk to say the least. Does this also say that if someone is speeding and does not hurt anyone then they should not get a ticket? Please let’s not have two sets of standards those for law enforcement and those for the rest of us FOLKS……

  • Guest1903 says:

    i’m sorry but i don’t believe that if anything you would have gotten a speeding ticket and or a reckless endangerment charge.

    i too was in a accident in the mountains.

    i was driving the speed limit 35 but ice had built up on a curve causing me too slide of the road and into a ditch the officer charged me with both reckless endangerment and speeding due to i should have been going 20 instead.

    being that i’m a Wilmington native i didn’t know such things and the way the tree’s shaded the curve the ice hadn’t melted even with salt that had been laid down.

    i decided too talk with the da explaining what happened and ended up getting the charges dropped….

    this deputy was off duty and driving well beyond the speed limit even people that are on duty can’t drive that fast.

    her license should have been yanked for the speeding alone.

    but being its the good ole boy network and if your a golf partner with the judge ,then it’s ok.

    “she’s lucky to be alive”

  • guesty says:

    Sure thing, no proof at all. Her car rolled about 420 feet and she had serious injuries. Yea, I’m sure she was going the speed limit. The facts I know is she isn’t needed in law enforcement and I hope the sheriff’s standards board in Raleigh gets wind of this and calls her up. Cry on that.

  • guesty says:

    Ok, you want to argue speed? Accident reconstruction can determine close approximation to the speed when she started rolling for over 400 feet. The computer in the car can also tell many stories, throttle position, speed, were the brakes touched and much more data. So try to get a firm grasp on the fact she is not needed in law enforcement and I hope the Sheriff’s Standards Board in Raleigh is made aware of her conduct.

    Sorry about the double post, WWAY sat on my first response to Guest1111.

  • Das Weibstück says:

    Thanks for your input Samantha. Yes “wreaks” happen every day, this whole thing wreaks.

  • BC taxpayer says:

    This is Brunswick County, everybody, knows everybody & anybody who knows her personally, knows that she was not only speeding, careless & reckless and that she was ‘STREET RACING’, not ‘passing’ the other officer!!! Sure, they might not be able to prove it in court but, say what you want to, to make yourself ‘feel better’; she was in fact breaking the law in more than one way, on OR off duty. They will always take care of their own, always have, and always will. She will live with that scar everyday, knowing she was in the wrong, reaping great benefits for our county employees for medical, 401k, etc. paid by the taxpayers. She should not have a job with Brunswick County, & that should be her minimum punishment.

  • Guest says:

    hmm i wonder what would happen if i drove 100miles an hour and flipped a whole bunch of times and barely survive..

    oh what’s this “if the insurance pays, then it’s ok?”

    what kind of horse crap is that.

  • Guest12 says:

    according to the wonderful DA’s office, that’s exactly what would happen…bunch of crap if you ask me

  • Guest says:

    there was not enough proof to convict her and her attorney was smart enough to know it. just like hundreds of other cases like this a single car accident, the insurance that she pays the premium on pays off and if charges are brought they get dismissed it happens every day. find something else to complain about. your beating a dead horse.

  • Guestreally? says:

    Oh now this is not fair at all. Lets get with the program. 100 MPH and because this was a single car accident, this case gets dismissed?

    20‑140. Reckless driving.

    (a) Any person who drives any vehicle upon a highway or any public vehicular area carelessly and heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others shall be guilty of reckless driving.

    (b) Any person who drives any vehicle upon a highway or any public vehicular area without due caution and circumspection and at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger or be likely to endanger any person or property shall be guilty of reckless driving.

    (c) Repealed by Session Laws 1983, c. 435, s. 23.

    (d) Reckless driving as defined in subsections (a) and (b) is a Class 2 misdemeanor.

    (e) Repealed by Session Laws 1983, c. 435, s. 23.

    (f) A person is guilty of the Class 2 misdemeanor of reckless driving if the person drives a commercial motor vehicle carrying a load that is subject to the permit requirements of G.S. 20‑119 upon a highway or any public vehicular area either:

    (1) Carelessly and heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others; or

    (2) Without due caution and circumspection and at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger or be likely to endanger any person or property.

    Now, please explain to me how she gets off. I think this incident needs questioning. She was showing off in her brand new car. She could have killed an innocent person. Why is she still allowed to wear a badge? She should have been held to a higher standard. I bet there are people out there that got a ticket such as this but didn’t just get their case dismissed. Perhaps this Assistant District Attorney should be held accountable for her actions. A little favortism going on? I think so. This is a total miscarriage of justice. I would call for this officers resignation and her license.

  • ROGER FLEMING says:

    Did anyone ever have any doubts that she would walk away clean.
    S/F ROGER FLEMING

  • Guest says:

    Glad to see that the benefits of the Good Ole Boy network is extending to the girls! Why on earth does this idiot even have a driver license? Amazingly, this miscreant is back on the taxpayer payroll ENFORCING LAWS against the “rest of us”…

    For better or worse, at least N Hanover Sheriff McMahon flushes the toilet when his deputies screw up.

  • Guest says:

    Was she paid a salary during her convalescence? Will her insurance reimburse the taxpayers?

  • guesty says:

    I have to cry BS on this. They have the fact she was driving 100MPH on a public highway and wrecked. She should be forced to make a Raleigh trip and explain how she thought that was a good idea to the sheriff’s standards board. Needs to kiss that certificate goodbye, people like her are not needed.

  • Guest1111 says:

    cry whatever you like!! neither you nor anyone else has proof of what speed she was going. the only fact is there was a wreak and they happen every day. and before you say people like her are not needed you should at least know your FACTS.

  • Guest-of-the-day says:

    …the entire Sheriff’s dept should be in jail for saying stuff like that! You know what they say, what happens in New Brunswick County STAYS in New Brunswick County…

    Contrast this with the recent resignation of a New Hanover County Sherriff who crashed his car due to drinking and driving – because he knew Sherriff McMahon would fire him. McMahon’s getting my vote! I grateful we have him after reading stuff like this.

  • Guest says:

    someones from jersey, its BRUNSWICK COUNTY, not NEW BRUNSWICK COUNTY. hit I-95 AND GO BACK

  • SurfCityTom says:

    an officer with a Badge & Pistol? In the military, her actions would bespeak a lack of leadership ability.

Leave a Reply