Wilmington Fire battalion chief charged with DWI

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- A Wilmington Fire Department battalion chief is off the job after being arrested on a drunk driving charge.

Wilmington Police arrested James Casteen Sunday night on Ivocet Drive on a DWI charge.

A city spokesman says because Casteen cannot perform his duties as a firefighter without a driver license, Casteen is currently off work using accrued leave. He can return to work after getting his license back.

Casteen is due in court February 18.

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Gonna have to eat them Swanson TV dinners at home for awhile Jimmy!

first of alll... people make mistakes. he is human just liked everyone reading and viewing this. he should be allowed to have his day in court and make changes in his life. just because he made one mistake doesn't make him less of a firefighter!

and has not had a trial, how could his license be suspended forcing him to stay home?

Not that he should be allowed back on the job given the nature of his charge.

Police officers and firefighters should be subject to immediate dismissal when convicted of a dwi charge.

In NC if a person is charged with a DWI their license is suspended for 30 days, after 10 days some may be able to get a limited license like for work.

If the DWI happened while working I can see termination.
But why do we hold police and fire fighters to this high a standard?
Both jobs are stressful and I'm sure they need to blow off steam
Aren't the current punishments sufficient for this type of act?

Vog

Police, Fire and EMS workers hold what is known as 'Safety Sensitive' positions. Those folks are held to a higher standard, as lives are at risk if they screw up.

He should be fired, and for this reason... any person in an emergency services position sees firsthand the tragic consequences of what drinking and driving can be. If they can still drive under those conditions knowing what it can result in, then they're showing a complete and utter lack of caring for the public they've sworn to protect. They should be fired. Period.

Soooo...should we fire all doctors who smoke and/or drink...

While I normally agree with your comments, this one I'll take exception to. Had this guy hit and injured/killed another driver, would you feel the same way? Would you say "He has a stressful job and needed to blow off steam"? I doubt you would.

I will agree that both positions do carry an elevated level of stress...but police officers far and away have the more stressful job...in my opinion.

If he killed someone he'd be facing something else - like vehicular manslaughter.
For me it boils down to this:
In a small town with a volunteer force everyone is on call all the time. This is not the case in Wilmington - but if something big happened we might have to call in off duty responders.
So - do these guys ever get a chance to let their hair down? If he was NOT CAUGHT should he still be terminated just for drinking?
First offense? That would play into this - I don't know what his history is.
Prescription medicine? Again, if he's got a problem that he's being treated for the physician should have given him instructions not to drive.

Look, I don't care if he's seen it all and should know better. He's human and has spent his life protecting us.
No history of priors?
I say give him a break - let him keep his job.

Vog

was there not a case, within the past 12 months or so, in Brunswick County where a chief responded to an emergency while under the influence? I believe there was; but I can not recall his name.

looked but couldn't find anything about it.
But for a full time fire department like Wilmington a guy should be able to go out and have drink without worry. Heck he should be treated like everyone else.......
Vog

this is one area where we can disagree and still remain civil; as opposed to those baseball proponents.

Being a firefighter is probably the most stressful civilian job out there. And I don't disagree that he should have an opportunity to unwind; vent steam and pressure; and relax with a few drinks.

But, there is something called a designated driver. And in the event he were called to duty, and I suppose that is possible, would he be mature enough to decline as he had been having a few?

There was reference made to job loss if he loses his drivers license. Does that mean he is assigned a vehicle which he can drive both on and off duty? If so, I think that changes the equation whether he was driving it or a POV.

It is amazing to me how quick everyone assumes it was alcohol. Maybe it was a prescription given to him by his doctor. Also, this country has lost sight of the fact that everyone is innocent until proven guilty.

@SurfCityTom

"Police officers and firefighters should be subject to immediate dismissal when convicted of a dwi charge."

Agreed, when convicted in a court of law by a jury of their peers and not before by a court of public opinion or media bias.

There is an immediate "pre-trial" administrative revocation of one's license at arrest. After 10 days one can get a limited driving privilege and after 20 days one gets his license back prior to trial for a net revocation of 30 days...

That's only if he registers a .08 or higher on the BAC. Apparently he did.

never driving after drinking, I had no idea.

Regardless, once convicted or taking a plea for a reduced charge, he should be terminated for cause.

If you feel this way, why not a doctor, nurse, judge, cashier at Wal-Mart, attorney, or someone working in a coffee shop. If they are drinking and driving, get in an accident, cause serious injury, what is different than a police officer or firefighter? I agree that drinking and driving is a bad thing, but what is good for the goose should be good for the gander also.