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FIRST ON 3: Brian Berger arrested for DWI, colleagues respond


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- New Hanover County Commissioner Brian Berger was arrested again this morning. This time for driving while impaired.

Wilmington Police arrested berger in downtown Wilmington around 2 a.m. Officers say they pulled Berger over for making "an abrupt left turn" in the 200 block of Market Street.

Other officers were called in to do field sobriety tests. After two breath alcohol tests and a blood test, police arrested Berger and booked him into the New Hanover County Jail around 6:45 a.m. He left at 8 a.m. after James Canoni posted an $800 unsecured bond for Berger.

New Hanover County Commissioners past and present say they thought the distractions were over from Berger.

Commissioner Jonathan Barfield says this may be a sign that the community needs to come together to support Berger.

"I think as a community, at this point, we need to number one lift the man up in prayer and find a way to build a support system around him to help him through whatever he's dealing with," Barfield said.

Beth Dawson says she thought with new commissioners in place things would be different. She hopes this does not distract the new board for the business at hand.

Former commissioners Rick Catlin and Ted Davis are no strangers to Berger's run-ins with the law.

Now a state representative-elect, Catlin says he does not have plans to sponsor any legislation to allow voters to recall Berger.

Davis, also new to the state House, says he is exploring the idea, but he wants to make sure it is the right move for North Carolina and that lawmakers are not opening up Pandora's box.

We have tried to contact Berger by phone, text, and at his home multiple times today, but he has not gotten back to us.

Berger's next court date is January 16.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.


I Wonder Why

I wonder why Berger didn't get his picture posted in the "Red Star" Mugshot section. Sad that common folk are held to a different standard.

Time for reflection

This is a time of reflection. Mr. Berger has done a lot of good things for our community. We cannot be so quick to judge. I m sure everyone in this forum has driven after consuming alcohol. It is not like he was lighting fireworks on Market street. We should all rally behind Mr. Berger at his time of need. I and many others are there for you Mr.. Berger and hereby extend an invintation to you for our March Madness party. I will be in touch through your professional channels and our community would like you to give a keynote address prior to first tip off on what we consider to be a national holiday. Preciate ya



Lol, you're funny

Are you being serious? Because if you are, LOL!!!!!

Your "suggestion" that those in positions of power are stalking BriBri is possibly the dumbest thing I've ever heard. This most recent arrest stemmed from him being pulled by a WPD officer at TWO O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING ON A WEEK NIGHT at the 200 block of Market Street. The officer observed a traffic violation and stopped him for it, and during that stop, the officer had reason to believe BriBri had thrown back a few. Public record shows that his BAC was WAY over the legal limit. Exactly how is that a case of the "powers that be" stalking him? He got drunk. He drove. That's illegal. for that matter, stalking and assaulting a female are also illegal. The only part of what you wrote that is truth is that he gets caught doing a lot of stupid and illegal things.


Why can't the Wilmington sign an impeachment order and remove him, this is absolutely the crazy situation that has a simple answer, Why does The leaders of Wilmington put up with this? We are still appalled at how they handled Billy Williams issue, Hew hasn't paid the 21 K of the 43k he stole and he is still getting about 200k a year. The leaders of Wilmington are starting to be the laughing topic in all of North Carolina.
Jason Thompson is the only commissioner that had any brains in the last 2 years of the group and he is gone now probably due to he didn't want to be on a team of idiots anymore, I am getting emails from friends all over the country making jokes at us here in Wilmington. WAKE UP,

Thompson didn't want to be on a team of idiots?

He lost in the GOP primary. Duh!

Dr. Derrick Hickey

Dr. Derrick Hickey is a fine member of our community and a valuable area surgeon with an impeccable record at New Hanover Regional Hospital. Derrick Hickey is no more or less associated with Brian Berger than other Republican members of the NHC Commission or the NHC Republican Party.
He would have been an outstanding addition to our county commission.

A fine member of the

A fine member of the community would NOT, along with his wife, have purchased the domain name of Elizabeth Redenbaugh for no other reason that for spitefulness. A normal person does NOT do that.

This feed is about Brian Berger

Elizabeth: you need to get over it. I am not even sure why you are arguing about Dr. Hickey here, except that you are so angry with yourself. If you wanted that domain name, you needed to pay for it. By not paying for it, the company that OWNED it sold it to someone else. People in this county disagreed with your politics. You said you were clear on your positions, but somehow many people heard different things come out of your mouth. You can't have it both ways. You were clear, or you weren't. Someone who was interested in making sure your positions were clear this time bought that domain name. That being the purpose, what other name for the domain would be MORE appropriate? And it was available, because you gave it up! That's not spite. That is resourcefulness. Guest 2013, you like to slam others for things you and yours are responsible for. But that is part of your problem. No accountability, tons of entitlement.
As for Brian, this is like watching a train crash. He is clearly having problems that go far beyond being "irresponsible." I hope he gets the help he needs.

"He would have been an outstanding addition"

He might have been an outstanding addition except for the fact that he turned out to be a racist.

Put all the spin on it you want, after he didn't get the appointment, he made some comments that we're indisputably racist.

That's a game changer. Period.

Racism vs Advocacy

Guest 10101: I was there when Dr. Hickey made his comments about the commission's decision. He was referencing an article by POLITICO, which is certainly not a racist publication, titled

"Election aftermath: GOP soul-searching: 'Too old, too white, too male'?" Read it here:

WECT, only slightly more newsworthy than the Enquirer, runs a salacious clip meant to get headlines and ignores the message. Supposedly they agree with the message of diversity, just not when a conservative says it. And don't bother bringing up diversity in schools - shuffling kids around in school doesn't teach them anything other than their learning needs don't matter. If Hickey is a racist, then so is every media outlet that ran a story similar to Politico.

Spin it all you want ... Racism is still racism

Saying “old white guy” isn’t referencing POLITICO, it’s using POLITICO to say something racist. Inferring that Melissa Gott’s rejection had something to do with her being Latino doesn’t reference POLITICO at all. It’s just being racist.

Wect, the Enquirer, anti-conservatism, diversity in schools, shuffling kids around, every media outlet that ran a similar story ….. the only thing you didn’t try to blame was the kitchen sink (and I suspect you would have if you had thought of it).

Hickey was angry and insulted that things didn’t go his way. He screwed up, lost control and lashed out with racist remarks. Too late. He said it, he owns it.

That’s a game changer. Period.

For you to continue to defend it is to perpetuate it. Period.

Only one lashing out and blaming is you

You do no service to the minorities that are not represented in the republican party. There are conservatives who are minorities. The fact that they are underrepresented in the republican party is a real issue. Many articles have referenced the exact words "old white guy." Ed Rollins, a senior strategist for the republican party, used those exact words, and is himself an "old white guy." It is disturbing to see that you are attempting to argue that identifying an underrepresented ethnic or racial group is racist. It would be laughable if you weren't being so vehement. You are either a racist yourself, or more likely, a radical that is doing the usual and going after a candidate you don't like. Why let the facts get in the way of your argument? Seems to be the theme of your group of people.

I hope the republican party is able to transform itself in to a party that is representative of all types of people. Every time Republicans seem to be making at least cosmetic progress toward inclusiveness, some old white guy shows up and tears off the mask of tolerance. In this case, it was the county commissioners.

Mayor of Boiling Spring Lakes

They still support the Mayor who has several sexual assault charges against him. Once they get elected they think they can get by with anything and so far they who is the better person here? The fireman on Oak Island who got out of a DUI...who is the better person?

Hickey Rebound

Berger was probably just upset that his boy Derrick Hickey didn't make it in as Commissioner. He got a little buzz on a Monday night and dreamed about how things could have been. Probably threw Melissa Gott in his twisted little fantasy of world domination at $16,000 a month. Dream on, little man...Dream on.

Controlled substance?

Who was riding shotgun? Was it Julia Boseman with a copy of High Times in her lap? Or was it R.C. Soles with a copy of Boy's Life?

So how's that "Straight

So how's that "Straight Party" voting you did in 2010 working out for you?

Simple solution

The answer is so simple. All the commissioners need to do is pass an ordinance making them accountable to the same personnel policies as county employees. My old neighbor was fired for a DUI arrest. If they get county funded medical insurance than they should have to be held accountable to county policies. If this was the case he would have been gone after the first arrest.

A mistake admitted

I have buyer's remorse. Yes, though embarrassed to admit it, I voted for Berger, in part because of his party affiliation, and in part to oust old-time, ineffectual deadwood. (I've never voted straight ticket, and yet have learned a valuable lesson that everyone could learn from: Just because a person runs on a party ticket of preference, that is no mandate to vote for them. Decisions concerning best candidate run much, much deeper than that. Unfortunately, as indicated by recent elections, too many still insist on voting party, regardless of outcome. Again, I was wrong; I wish others would, could, come forward and state the same.

Regardless of my poor vote, I offer two opinions: 1) Brian Berger apparently has issues more deep than anyone can fathom or resolve and is not fit to hold a public office. 2) What part has the media played in this unraveling? WWAY & The Star News have gone to the extreme in their witch hunt of persecution. Perhaps the excessive, obsessive reporting has contributed to the man's unraveling? As the old saying goes, "If you're not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem."

Instead of jumping on the Berger-bash bandwagon, we citizens and the responsible media need to pursue positive, effective resolutions. If compassion is too much to expect anymore, what can we do that will conclude this ugly drama and be to the benefit of both Berger and the county?

Thank you for an intelligent answer

Guest85: Well said. We don't let bullies beat up on the socially awkward kid in high school Who said it became OK after graduation?

The County Commissioners are like watching "Mean Girls", but with a much less attractive cast and a far less compelling plot (who knew that was possible).


I completely agree, I feel that Berger has made mistake... and everyone in NHC wants to bash him on whatever they can find wrong of him doing. He's a nice guy and doesn't deserve the publicity harassment he's been given by WECT. Could you imagine losing your home, your car and your wife along with the charges he picked up; then to have the media follow you around and see what else you are doing wrong. He needs positive news, no more of this negative crap!!!!


I consider Berger to be along the same guidelines of Adam Lanza, mentally unstable, and capable of doing harm to others. Please someone stop the madness before Berger flies off the deep end and then we will be sitting back asking ourselves how could this have happened!

You're not far off on your

You're not far off on your comparison. He has a history of violence, ausbergers syndrome and a gun collection. Does anyone know if he got his guns back after the last incident?

Ticking time bomb imo ?!

If I were his fellow commissioners I'd be packing a handgun at all future meetings and fuctions. He strikes me as a ticking time bomb. Apparently he is unable or unwilling to get the help he needs and cases like his don't generally end well.

The Berger solution

Let's be real. Berger's problems are beyond his ability to control. Although we have a right to feel frustration because of our lack of adequate governmental representation, we should also feel compassion for a person swimming in waters far beyond his ability in which to swim. The only practical solution is to wait him out until the end of his term. It is also past time however for the other elected commissioners to step up and move around Berger in an effort to efficiently govern NHC.

"We need to find a way to build a support system around him." said Commissioner Jonathan Barfield ..... Wrong. That time has come and gone. We need to isolate him from further positions of responsibility and wait him out.

"This type of behavior reflects very poorly on all of us" said new chairman Woody White..... Only if the NHC commissioners continue to allocate various positions of responsibility to him, such as the CFPUC board seat.

This is not rocket science. Don't pay for his trips (By the way, has he ever paid off his past due debts and if not why not?). Don't allow him to be in a position of governmental responsibility on any level outside of having a chair to sit on at the NHC Commission meetings. If he’s late or doesn’t show, just let it go. The clock will continue to tick regardless of his physical presence and eventually his tenure will come to an end.

If the other NHC Commissioners continue to waste more of our time and our potential treasure on Berger then perhaps we should start to hold THEM accountable for THEIR actions. Berger has personal problems ..... What would THEIR excuse be?

we elected him but

Brian Berger was elected because he was different. He said things to imply that he was for the “small guy”, the voter, he was beholding to no one special interest group, and that he was not part of the Wilmington cabal, or the local good ‘ol boy network.

We fell for that line in the hope that somehow Brian could change the board – give them a new outlook on things. What we didn’t see was the means by which Brian would thumb his nose at those groups. His public displays of lateness, violating a protective order, now a DWI show us that he’s not different, and that he’s somehow far less than the person we expected him to be. It’s OK to be different, but in a political forum, you can be different but you are still expected to maintain some degree of professional decorum in your dealings with fellow board members and other government employees, and the press and public.

Mr Berger’s transgressions in his personal life have now crossed that invisible line in the sand because now his personal issues are imputing that his professional judgment can now be called into question. This is a dangerous position to be in. Politically, he’s through – the question for Brian is does he make US wait till the next election to remove him, or does he choose what’s best for the voters and resign immediately? If he claims to be different, that he’s all about “us”, he will choose resignation to show us he’s got at least one shred of respectability left. If he chooses to stay and continues on the path of political self-destruction, he will sully his reputation, and that of the Board and the reputation of the voters as well who wished for him to be that “something different”. He obviously has no idea of the political damage he has caused for himself and the board.

Brian – get help, get “fixed”, get assistance, but more importantly, get OUT. Do it of your own accord – show us you’re capable of being helped.


What a role model Brian Berger is...he (and the county commission) is teaching our future leaders that it is perfectly acceptable to behave in this manner. It's alright be late to meetings or not even show up, be arrested for domestic violence, threaten to commit suicide, and get a DWI. No matter what your behavior you will still be appointed to a powerful committee and get elected as a county official. There has got to be some way the County Commissioners can remove him from office. And shame on whoever appointed him to the CFPUA Board.

Have a little sympathy

Berger is going through a rough time in his life. He was probably on anti-anxiety drugs. Wouldn't you be on something if you were in his place?

You mean WIlmington, NC?

Yes, I get my Xanax from the kids at the bus stop. It helps me sit through the green lights with the locals. It helps me when I am walking downtown on the numbered streets. Well that and the pistol I got from the kids at the bus stop. Xanax also helps me when I'm about to drive to a house one mile away and have to drive ten because the roads don't connect. Duh. It helps me when CFPUA comes out to each of my properties, digs a whole and then tells me there is a leak on my side... "yeah, I know. You just put it there... Where's my Xanax and my pistol?" Yes, it helps... better living through chemistry.


He needs to go--and be banned from any future public meetings before he snaps and hurts someone.