FIRST ON 3: Shallotte firefighter charged with DWI

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Submitted: Fri, 08/03/2012 - 12:27am

SHALLOTTE, NC (WWAY) — Highway Patrol arrested a Shallotte firefighter this week for allegedly driving drunk, but he’s still on duty.

A DWI report obtained by WWAY says a trooper stopped Richard Paul Savage, 53, late Monday night on NC 179 near Ocean Isle Beach. The report says after the trooper pulled out, Savage “ran off the road to the right. Appr. half of his vehicle ran off the road.”

The report also says Savage, who the trooper said had a “strong odor of alcohol,” was “mush mouth,” was “unstable on his feet” and had to sit on a truck bumper, refused to to submit to an Intoxometer test, reportedly telling the trooper, “I am afraid I will blow over. It is in my best interest not to take it.”

Shallotte Town Clerk Sandy Strickland confirmed Savage works for the town’s fire department. She said Savage was still on duty, and that she did not know about his arrest. She directed us to Town Administrator Albert Hughes and Fire Chief Paul Dunwell. They have not yet returned our calls.

A phone number for Savage could not immediately be found.


  • Guest5678 says:

    I was serving this same guy in a bar. He was being obnoxious to the other patrons and then called me stupid for not listening to his drunk rambling. I had to kick him out. I told him if he couldn’t handle his alcohol, then maybe he shouldn’t drink and be out in public. I see he did not take my advice.

  • e m says:

    Maybe you are stupid to continue to serve him alcohol if he was drunk?

  • cagc says:

    Does WWAY make a habit of calling every person that has been arrested for a DUI or is it because he is a Shallotte firefighter? Yes, he made a bad choice but he was not working when this happened so why was this put on the news?

  • bcfiyamayan says:

    He was working buddy

  • B M says:

    anybody starting to see the pattern here,??, HP seems to be breaking up the good old boy’s club around here. This will start wearing on the local system if it keeps up.

  • brian says:

    The Good Ol’ Boy network is still strong in Brunswick County.

  • Mudcat1275 says:

    Good old boy net work very much alive and well in Shallotte. Can hardly wait to see what the powers that be in Shallotte do about this idiot.

  • Guest2020 says:

    Please keep him off the streets.

  • Guest451 says:

    To anyone who is offended by WWAY posting this on the news; GET OVER IT! As for the assertion that, “The good ole’ boy network is alive and well in Brunswick County…..REALLY ?????!!!!! News Flash!!!! As for the position that it shouldn’t matter cause he was off-duty….Oh MY GOD! He’s a public-official who’s sworn to serve and protect…no he isn’t a COP…he’s the one who suppose to set an example of professionalism for his men and women who serve under him. He was sober enough to know he was probably going to blow greater than a .08 (.04 if he holds a N.C. Commercial Drivers License). Don’t you think if he was sober enough to make the decision not to take the field sobriety test he was sober enough to know he MIGHT get caught and then he probably shouldn’t have driven….DUH! He’s just one in a long line of public-safety officers within Brunswick County who have drank and then driven and then been caught. Wow….slow learners!!!! Can you say Chief House from Oak Island? I hope that the town administrator from Shallotte and the Fire Chief make the right decision for the health of the department and community and either terminate him or allow him to resign. Either way, he’s a shame to the badge and his position. It doesn’t matter whether you’re on-duty or not; professional behavior extends to your personal life when you’re occupying a position of trust and honor. Doesn’t matter…he brought it on himself.

  • gueat1963 says:

    If you have ever had to call 911 because of a fire, chances are this man has saved your house, pets, property, not to mention YOUR LIFE or someone you may know personally. I have knowledge of several fires that week and although I do not condone drinking and driving 99% of us have at least once in our lives stopped off for dinner and a drink or two after work. Especially after a tough day. We all make mistakes. I am just your everyday person, if I had been pulled over that same evening you would never know about it. I may be bagging your groceries every week, or serving your lunch, the community see’s me daily but you could care less if I am drinking. I may even be drinking when I serve you but that is okay because I don’t have a badge. REALLY!!!

  • cagc says:

    and you know this how???

  • Guest 65 says:

    You its sounds like to be maybe the Fire Chief isn’t doing his job right to keep letting this happen?

  • bcwhat says:

    This isnt the first Shallotte FD employee to get a DWI. A little over a year ago another one was arrested for the same thing on HWY 904. He was also a BCEMS employee. And Shallotte gave him a raise and a LT position

  • Guest1234567890 says:

    This is so ridiculous. So what if the man drinks? It’s not like he was on duty. He shouldn’t be getting ridiculed by everyone because he got caught. I’m sure many people have drank and drove before. He has helped so many people and saved many lives. Why should this be put on the news but not every other DWI that the police catch? Yes we all agree he shouldn’t have done it, but seriously get over it. It happened and he can’t take it back. He’s a good man and doesn’t deserve to be embarrassed like this and put down in the community.

  • Guest451 says:

    I really appreciate you bringing this to my attention…I almost forgot the word “humility”. As for your question of my ever having to call 911 because of a fire, that doesn’t matter. See, I’m one of them; I do the job, so that gives me the right to judge one of my PEERS. As for your knowledge of several fires that week; what does that have to do with drinking and driving? If you want to go have a few after a tough day at work, you have a choice; drink at home or have a designated driver. POINT-BLANK! I’m proud to say that I have a beer every now and again and do so when I go out to dinner, but I’m also smart; I don’t drink and drive. I give the keys to a friend or I call someone if I need to go home. I don’t get behind the wheel drunk or buzzed. I’m cognizant enough to know the difference.

    You wrote:
    “I am just your everyday person, if I had been pulled over that same evening you would never know about it. I may be bagging your groceries every week, or serving your lunch, the community see’s me daily but you could care less if I am drinking. I may even be drinking when I serve you but that is okay because I don’t have a badge. REALLY!!!”

    Clearly, I’ve struck a nerve. You’re sore because I’ve exercised my right to comment and then you don’t agree with it. Tough! You write as if you’re trying to celebrate your ability to “fly-under-the-radar” from being exposed by the media because you’re an “everyday person”. You think that the media shouldn’t be able to know who gets arrested for committing a crime? Worried about the media and the government in your business? I’m laughing at this. WWAY didn’t drink and drive. Are you also one who thinks this is a private matter? He works for the local government; tax-dollars pay his salary. He responds to serious accidents where alcohol is a factor and sees the countless lives affected by drunk drivers. The scenes like these should be enough to deter people from drinking and driving but sadly it still happens everyday and night.

    If you are drinking when you serve me, you have a drinking problem. As for people caring if you’re drinking; I could care less until you climb behind the wheel buzzed or drunk. It doesn’t matter when you’re caught or have an accident and hurt or kill someone. So yeah; we do care. As a firefighter and a fire officer, he has a greater responsibility; his is to his department and his profession. Would your take on this be same if he had killed or disabled someone? No probably not; you’d be a part of the comment too….just like now.

    When you take an oath of office, you accept more responsibility than can be conveyed. I really don’t have to justify anything to anyone, but it’s comical to read some of the posts on here saying these things about the Good Ole’ Boy club and how the NCSHP is breaking them up.
    Did he make a mistake? Sure. Was it preventable? Sure. Was it a willing act? Absolutely!!! Therefore it shows forethought; in other words, he was sober enough to make the decision to drive and his decision-making was poor and I’m being nice. I don’t care if you’ve had a bad day a work; his reputation is now MUD! Not because of WWAY, but because of his actions. He’s lucky. He has his life. He knows it was wrong to get behind the wheel and drive; he rolled the dice and lost. Does his behavior define and defile the trust and respect for other members of the fire department by the public? You know…Shallotte….small town…small department….everyone knows him and others who serve with him. He doesn’t just have a drinking and driving problem; the town and the fire department have a P.R. problem. The impact is greater than you can comprehend. His actions hurt himself and his department; his men and women he serves with.

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