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Deputy not charged after fender bender


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The holiday rush got off to a bad start for a New Hanover County Sheriff's deputy this morning. The deputy rear-ended another car with his cruiser at the intersection of South College Road and Waltmoor Road around 9 a.m.

A sheriff's spokesman said the deputy said the light was green when he looked down for a second. When he looked back up, the light was yellow, and the car in front of him had stopped.

There was only minor damage, and no one was hurt. Wilmington Police are investigating.


The Deputy was determined to be at fault. His marked vehicle rear-ended the car in front of him. The driver in front said that she slowed down when the light turned yellow. The other driver (Deputy) said that he was looking at his mobile data terminal (MDT) in the performance of his duties. When he looked back up, the driver ahead had slowed for the yellow light and the Deputy could not stop in time. Both drivers were in agreement as to the sequence of events.

The Deputy's car sustained more serious damage than the other vehicle. Any minor damage to the other vehicle will by covered by the Deputy's insurer (NC League of Municipalities).

No charges have been placed. This is typical in a crash in which there is no dispute as to how the crash occurred, or who will pay for damages.

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bad policy if this is true, and here's why:

I can't believe that it's actually any sort of policy that no ticket is written when it is clear which party is at fault in a traffic accident. What good could possibly come of that? I know of 2 people who were involved in accidents where the officer (I belive they were both WPD) stated at the scene that one party was at fault but failed to issue any citations (and in one case refused to file a police report) resulting in headaches with the insurance company going after the responsible party to pay for the damages - after all, how does the insurance company determine who is at fault if there is no written record? At that point it's one person's word against the other. Do you really expect the guilty party to admit guilt to the insurance company after the fact? I'd like to hear one good reason for this lack of procedure and recordkeeping.

Rear ended vs Rear ender

I hope I get posted on this.

I remember February 5th 2010 just like it was yesterday; I was driving along on Murrayville road. Does any else remember that Friday ? It was the day(s) when it was raining so hard one could barely see to drive but I had to be out to have my breathing machine calibrated. I was doing 35 mph in front of the school, 3.5 car lenghts (approx.) behind a woman and she suddenly decides to stop. (the light was green) I put on my brakes and hydroplaned into the rear of her vehicle. The NCSHP came upon the scene. He took her to his car and then moments later he came to my Jeep and gave me a ticket without asking me any questions ! I looked up what I just put in the subject box. I wish I had before court. Now my insurance is higher. I could have beaten the ticket. It was for following too close to avoid an accident.

Where's the citation?

So let me get this straight:

If I rear end someone tomorrow....and there's "no dispute" that I was not paying attention to the road.... and "no dispute" that I was covering the damages -- then I can/will walk away with no ticket? No ticket for following too close? No ticket for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident? If I was looking at my mobile device because it pertained to my job duties when an accident happened, am I exempt?

I had no idea it was "typical" for this to be the case in this type of accident. Are the same considerations extended to non-law enforcement drivers?

Don't get me wrong, I commend our law officers for the job they do but they should be held to every standard they enforce on a daily bases as well as the consequences...even for a traffic accident.


You can be assured had it been the other way around and the citizen hit the patrol car the citizen would have received a citation. Again, what is fair for regular citizens does not apply to anyone with any authority. That deputy in traffic either needs to pull over to read his screen or wait until it is safe to do so. I see local Law Enforcement all the time driving while talking on cell phones, reading their screens. What frustrates me is that they then turn around and ticket people for the exact same thing they already do. I am sick and tired of two standards around here. One standard for those in authority and another for those who are not. I voted for McMahon but if this keeps up with his department he will not receive my support ever again. That deputy is no better than anyone else and his actions caused the accident, pure and simple. Again, you run into a Law Enforecement vehicle and see what happens

RE: Truthseeker

Truthseeker I have a few questions about your post. First you stated you see Law Enforcement driving around " talking on cellphones and reading screens" you then said you then see Law Enforcement " turn around and ticket people for the exact same thing" I would be interested to know how many people you know that have gotten a ticket for talking on a cellphone. There is no hands free law in NC so that makes no sense and as far as I know there is no law in NC "against reading a screen" so I am doubting you know or have seen anyone get a ticket for that as well. The issue of the article was the wreck that happened. Yes I agree the Deputy should have been paying attention and as a result of his lack of attention a wreck occurred. luckily no one was hurt as a result of his lack of attention. The Deputy was held at fault and their was no issue with who was at fault. Not all wrecks involve a ticket being issued, but there are too many folks that feel anything involving a Law Enforcement Officer, the Officer should be hammered. Anything that could be done to the Officer apparently better be done or the publci feels he is shown special treatment. Then the public always wants to go and state how they voted for the Sheriff but will not if this continues. Well if you read the article again you will see that it was Wilmingotn Police Department who investigated the wreck and determined the outcome and what action to take. Last time I checked the Sheriff doesnt run WPD. Just my opinion on this but the public always seems to be looking for some type of conspiracy to jump on a soapbox about..


"I see local Law Enforcement all the time driving while talking on cell phones.."

Yeah, what gives. I NEVER see anyone else talking on their cell phones while driving. Plus, the police are the ONLY ones who EVER get in wrecks. Everyone else is so much safer than the police. The police should go back to the alien planet that they came from.

Get REAL Truthseeker. From the sound of your post, you only seek the truth that fits your personal opinions. I would imagine that as drivers, police, fire, and EMS personnel are among the safest. Of course, I can not make such broad statements of absolute certainty as you. What I can say with absolute certainty is that police officers are human just as you and I (SURPRISE!!!) and as such they are subject to mistakes, errors in judgment, and poor decisions, just as you and I.

Until we start reporting and commenting on the mistakes and errors of member of ever profession (including yours Lord Truthseeker) lets tone down the judgment and condemnation just a bit.

I for one appreciate the work that all our local emergency personal do. Hold your heads high and don’t let Truthseeker’s comments get you down.



Your such a jack yall forget that yes even though these people are put in place to protect and serve, they do make mistakes too. we are all human....get over it...just because these people are out here trying to serve and protect doesn't mean they are perfect. Get over your self, if your so damn perfect get off your lazy ass and get out there and do their job.....jack leg!!!!

Actually the truth is...

@truth seeker

for someone who's name is truthseeker, you sure don't look too hard. Do some research first. Most drivers aren't cited in this type collision. If they are, it's for reckless driving or something of the sort.

Additionally, LEOs ARE actually exempt from some laws while in the performance of their duties. Although a MDT can be a big distraction while driving, it is an invaluable tool for law enforcement while responding to a call, or for investigations. If an officer pulled over everytime he had to look at his "screen" he would never get anywhere... and you, or the person who called 911, would complain about why it took so long to get there. It's really a lose/lose situation for LEO. Not making excuses for the deputy... he/she will still most likely have to face internal ramifications to see if they could have prevented the collision, which it appears they could have.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not taking sides with all law enforcement. But please don't bunch every one into the same basket of apples.


Nothing wrong here. Uaually if someone gets charged all they have to do is bring a form from their insurance co. saying they will pay and it gets dismissed.I'm sure they knew the cruiser was covered.

Are you Crazy

The citation would be for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident. That is a criminal offense for which you at a minimun would have to pay court cost. Even if reduced you still get insurance points and court cost. The fact remains that if you hit a law enforcement vehicle just tell him insurance will cover it and drive on off. What a moron.


For one its not a criminal offense, and no,you don't just tell them, can't you read,you get ticketed,thats why you go to court.I know this because it happened to me.No court costs or points.It was DISMISSED.I also said usually.There is other things you can be charged with besides what you quote. Following to closely for one.

You People are Plain Stupid

First of all, not here but I have been in State Law Enforcement over 30 years. I know for a fact that if you run into the back of a patrol car and it causes damage you will be cited. Secondly, what do you think a citation is. You say no criminal offense but as usual with ignorant citizens you are wrong, it is. Any traffic offense is a crimal offense and it goes on your driving record even if as minor as improper equipment. Just because you are a Law Enforcement Officer you have to obey the same laws you enforce unless in the performance of legit duties. Looking at a screen is the same thing as reading a book while driving and both cause accidents. If he was approaching a stoplight it would not be following to closely because everyone is already bunched up in traffic. It is failure to reduce speed to avoid a collision like I said. So do not tell me to go out and do the job, I already have. You are the one who needs to do the job. My comment was to indicate that most people involved in a collision with a patrol vehicle that was caused by a violation most of the times results in a ticket. What is good for the public also applies to Law Enforcement. You allow Law Enforcement to run around doing what they want with no repercussions then you invite a police state. I support Law Enforcement fully, I respect the hard job they have as I have done it. But, be sensible, what if a Officer was reading his screen and veered over into another lane and hurt someone. Your thoughts is it is okay because they have to raed the screen. In my days we had no in board computers and relied on radio calls and therefore were cognizant of our surroundings because we were not driving and reading at the same time. So when you have filled the shoes for over 30 years you can talk. Until then your comments are those of ignorance and stupudity


Very well put truthseeker. Don't talk about the job until you have been on the job.