Police use SABLE helicopter to catch dangerous driver

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The SABLE helicopter was hard at work last night chasing a drunk driver trying to evade police.

The New Hanover County Sheriff's Office and the Wilmington Police Department tried to stop the vehicle earlier in the day, but without success.

After relocating the vehicle around 10:15 p.m. Monday night, officers on the ground took a step back fearing danger to themselves as well as any pedestrians who could possibly be involved in the chase.

"Because of the sound judgement of the supervisors on the street and the sable tool we were able to save lives and property," WPD Capt. Marshall Williamson said.

Police say video from the chopper's camera system shows Paul Brian Schaller speeding, running stop lights and signs and going the wrong way on one way streets, including South 17th Street, Dawson Street and Wooster Streets, nearly causing a few accidents along the way.

"They're continuing to call out to the ground troops the location of the vehicle," Williamson said as he described the video. "At some point toward the end of the pursuit the vehicle operator drove the vehicle to the area of Russell's Alley."

Near the end of the chase, Schaller tried to hide the vehicle and himself, but it was too little too late, as SABLE directed ground units to the suspect.

"The driver of the Mustang tried to hide the car. The ground troops were able to come in and take the subject into custody without further incident," Williamson said.

Schaller is charged him with DWI and felony speeding to elude arrest. He is in the New Hanover County Jail under a $20,000 secured bond.

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I'm sure he didn't mean it, he only wanted to go home.

I am glad this suspect was caught. However, I do not believe that safety was the first priority for WPD. The only reckless drivers I witnessed Monday night were behind the wheel of police cruisers.

Since you seem to think you can do better, join the police force. I bet you are one of the people that cry "Just get the tag number and let them go" except that doesn't always work. The tag could be stolen and if it is a valid tag for that vehicle, if the police find the vehicle parked without anyone in it then it is much harder to prove who was driving it.

since when are the Sheriff deputies or WPD officers ground troops? This is not the military!! The ground units might be more correct or officers on the ground? Williamson your a Capt on the WPD not the US Army.

....THAT'S something to get upset about...informal terminology.

...as you lounge around in your hair curlers, fuzzy robe and rabbit slippers with a limp ciggie hanging off your lips. So, who made YOU the grand authority on how the media, the Sheriffs department or the WPD refers to their officers?

Jump on back into your easy chair and go back to quarterbacking holiday football games, you're not hitting on much here other than displaying the northern end of a south-bound horse. Geeez....

ILM Native is very consistent in his criticizing of the police because apparently he doesn't think any department can do anything right. I recall him once stating all cops are scum. I think he tried to make it through BLET and either washed out or was asked to leave. That would explain some of his bitterness towards all police. Or maybe his domestic partner was arrested and he is still sore about it.

material guesty that same ole BLET crap and the domestic partner bit is getting old, but my wife laughs at your dumb remarks...

But it seems like it is plausible. The way you constantly bash cops makes it look like you tried and failed to become one and are now bitter. You can call your domestic partner a woman if it makes you feel better. Is her name Bob?

Hats off to all the officers of the WPD and NHCSO who made all the right decisions and kept everyone safe. Good work, too SABLE I. Now, if the BCSD or SHP could have caught the cab driver on 133 headed toward Southport this afternoon shortly before 1:00, who was speeding, tailgating and in general driving reckless, almost hitting an oncoming car head-on, our roads would be even safer.

Driving while stupid should be added.

Well then they could arrest nearly everyone in NHC.


See if your bulb doesn't put off just enough light for you to find the key labeled "Caps Lock" on your keyboard. Press it once.

Very true.