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FIRST ON 3 UPDATE: Fire chief had already been convicted of DWI charge; judge threw out appeal and conviction

READ MORE: FIRST ON 3 UPDATE: Fire chief had already been convicted of DWI charge; judge threw out appeal and conviction

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- The latest on a story you saw ONLY ON 3 last night about the Oak Island fire chief whose DWI case was dismissed earlier this week by a Brunswick County judge. We found out today that John House was found guilty of that same DWI charge back in August.

Chief House appealed that August decision made in District Court. A judge granted him what is known as a trial de novo, which means the case gets a fresh, new start in Superior Court. That's when it made it's way to Judge Ola Lewis.

A Brunswick County Court clerk said House pleaded not guilty in District Court to the December 2008 DWI charge. Judge Jerry Jolly found House guilty and sentenced him to either 60 days in jail or 18 months unsupervised probation, along with court costs and community service. House appealed that decision.

For several months,the case made its way through Superior Court and was continued a number of times. Tuesday, when a prosecutor asked to continue the case and to hold the case open until a state trooper could get to the courthouse, Judge Lewis dismissed the case with prejudice and refused to provide an answer as to why she made her decision.

"The problem is that the state still has the ability to, if they want to, give some notice of appeal with regard to the way the new DWI laws are written." Lewis told WWAY as she left the courthouse Thursday.

But dismissing the case with prejudice means the state cannot never again try House on the DWI charge. District Attorney Rex Gore told us his office has no recourse against the judge's decision.

House's DWI charge remains on his record, but the conviction is gone.

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.



John house is a good husband dad and boss. People need to remember that we are human and that we all make mistake. There is more good that this man has done then bad. John house is the best boss I ha e every had and a great friend. Let him keep doing good things for the town of oak island

The good news is if you are

The good news is if you are really upset about this in due season you can fire the judge and DA and all Oak Island elected officials responsible for not pushing for the firing of Chief House. Problem is most of you will lose interst in this by the time elections come again and thats what they are betting on and if the past holds true they will have bet correctly.

Be aware!!!!

Be aware all blue collar works I just read that Brunswick County is cracking down on drunk drivers this summer and if you don't have a title or a high paying job to help you get out of these fixes 'YOU' get yourself in you could go to jail.

Sad Justice

We live in a society where the criminals are protected by our Justice system and the innocent suffer. The innocent have no rights. Pathetic. Judge Ola just proved my point.

Red Tape

I applaud WWAY and their continued coverage of this story. As a tax paying citizen I believe someone should investigate the ties that lead to Chief House and the DA's office. I believe there was no real push to convict on this second trial. Why would you not push to convict this man? A person responsible for protecting citizens on Oak Island??? A smell a rat in the system and someone needs to dig deep. Where are the consequences???

Got Found Guilty?????

What kind of message does this send to other employees of Oak Island? Go drive and get caught but don't worry about your job. In any other setting and municipality the Fire Chief would be fired after being found guilty. 2 weeks suspension is nothing but a slap on the hand for committing a serious crime. Time for the City Manager to step up to the plate and take one for the team.
Time for the Chief to step aside because his credibility is gone. His statement "screwed up" is not an excuse. ANY professional member of a municipality's management team should be aware that they represent their town 24/7 regardless. House, maybe you need fall on your own sword. I feel sorry for the staff, I would be scared on fire scenes not knowing whether the Chief had been drinking or not.

Chief John House is a good

Chief John House is a good man who made a mistake. He is a family man who works every day and does a great job. He goes home every day to his family, Not out drinking. Everybody is seeing the mistake he did, Which Im not defending but he has learned from it. John House is a great Fire Chief and has done a lot for Oak Island. Everybody has made mistakes in their lives. So try to look at the whole picture not just the bad. Chief House has paid for his crime over the last year and a half!

We have had this discussion before

Committing a criminal act is not a mistake, it is a choice. He chose to drink and he chose to drive. A mistake is mailing your cable bill to the phone company. Driving after drinking is inexcusable. I'm sure he has been to wrecks as part of his job and has seen the result of when a person decides to drive after drinking. He knows better and needs to keep on paying for his crime.

One word for Ola Lewis & John House


Ola and The Drunk Fire Chief

Since John House wants to brag about that he "got off " I would like to see him "get off" of our Fire Department! Oak Island needs to take action! Maybe Ola Lewis could use him as a gopher because he sure owes her.


two bsl firemen get away with excessive speeding, careless and reckless driving and the oak island fire chief gets away with dui, to break the law and get away with it just become a firefighter in brunswick county.

Vote her out !

Ola Lewis , Superior Court judge , is an elected position on the bench. My advice is stamp her shipping papers and send her on the way out ! Given the chronic problem with drunk drivers in our region , this was very poor judgment on her part. Do not come around election time trying to promote yourself because it will fall on deaf ears. Personally, I feel this was a premeditated act orchestrated with the corrupt Rex Gore office and the Chief. Follow the campaign donations on this one. The Chief owes the judge a favor. It just takes one bad incident in judgment to reflect poorly on your tenure as judge despite all the good deeds from the past.All other citizens would not have been afforded the same opportunity. Shame on you!

2 Recent

deaths resulting from DWI incidents in the past 3 weeks in Brunswick County.

What a mockery of the judicial system.

Can anyone say "Recall" or "Impeach" the Judge?

Can anyone ask, where is the AG or SBI to conduct a review of this Judge and the Assistant DA charged with managing the case?

Can vacationers "boycott" Oak Island and its bsuinesses until the town Council bids the Chief farewell?

No wonder people like the 2 who were involved in fatality related DWI incidents are repeat offenders.

Where is MADD? Not just the County Chapter; where is the state chapter?

Judge Ola Lewis.

well now that i've taken a better look at this Judge Ola Lewis is in the right actually she did her job the real question here is were was the state trooper? and why didn't anyone ask why he didn't show up on time. but hey i get it wway it's a bigger story if you go after the judge and not the state trooper. but it doesn't make it right. look people if the state trooper that pulled hem doesn't show and yes believe me he new about it and was told to be there ON TIME!!! the prosecutor can't prove anything and yes i know he was found guilty for this before but you need to remember they started over and yes if the state trooper doesn't show up with the evidence there's nothing you can do. but Judge Ola Lewis left the case open for the state so..... it will be taken care of because as you all should know the state can and will pick up the charges. as i said before she did her job spot on.

Shame on tv 3

Judge Lewis has done an excellent job since she took the bench. She has instituted both a drug court and a mental health court and these two programs have helped people who would have fallen through the cracks otherwise. I have known her to be a fair judge who doesn't play around.

This tv station has done nothing but sit here and repeat the same one-sided, biased story over and over again. They are focusing on the judge's decision and not on the other things that happened in this case. For one, the ADA screwed up. This case had been continued a few times. The defendant had the best attorney in Brunswick County. Did I mention the ADA that screwed up?

It is time for this tv station to present all the facts and quit trying to besmirch the name of a judge who has done a fine job for Brunswick County.

Either this was a carefully

Either this was a carefully orchestrated scheme on the part of the DA's office and Ola Lewis to free the drunken chief, or Brunswick County, NC has the most dysfunctional legal system in the nation.

A personal friend was

A personal friend was charged with DWI. She blew a .08, just enough to convict. She lost her license, had to go to endless evaluations and alcohol rehab, which were nothing but a money rip off. The judge was Ola Lewis. Guess she didn't have the right friends in the right places. Lewis should be removed. In my opinion, she is unfit to be a judge.

black eye for Oak Island and our court system

Stunned at the fire chief's arrogant comment "I screwed up, I got closed". A slap in the face to all the residents of Oak Island and his fellow firemen. As to the judge, will she cry crocodile tears at the hospital bed or funeral of someone this fool has maimed or killed while driving drunk? The two of them should be equally ashamed at their idiocy and removed from their jobs.


While I am not defending the chief for his actions, he is still an American who by the bill of rights is entitled to a speedy trial. The people, represented by the prosecutor, have to present their case in a timely manner which from what I understand was not done. The Judge has to follow the rule of law no matter how heinous the crime may have been. I'm sure the chief’s attorney was adamantly vying for a dismissal with prejudice due to the shortcomings of the prosecutor. If we start ignoring the rules for one, where will it stop? What happens when the system is supposed to be fair to you?

Not so stunned by Chief's

Not so stunned by Chief's arrogant reply. This is his attitude for everything. That he can get away with whatever he wants. Hopefully others will see for what it is and his time has come.....

You can run but you can not hide !

I feel the Chief and the Judge will have to eventually evaluate other employment options in the future. You will need to get on the same page of music. WWAY exposed ole R.C now it is your turn to face the scrutiny if you are not going to come clean. I suspect it is all downhill for both of you.

Dismissed DWI

I think that WWAY needs to investigate just a little deeper to realize that the District Attorneys Office had continued this matter on several occasions and that the day it was set for hearing, the DA's office was completely unprepared and had not had the necessary witnesses in court.

to concerned attorney: Don't

to concerned attorney:

Don't breathe my oxygen, your stealing it. If you know what the deal was then you know this guy broke the law, with the facts he was very drunk, and appealed it when found guilty. So do everyone a favor and go bury your head in the sand.

Dismissed DWI

You are entirely correct. The ADA calling in sick and no one else could handle it for her is a disgrace, means that she was not prepared to go forward. I have worked in the legal system and have seen many judges both here and in Mecklenburg County tell the attorneys that the case WILL be heard now or it will be dismissed. Good for Ola Lewis.

Letting a convicted drunk

Letting a convicted drunk driver go with no consequences because you are ticked at the DA's office is no way to serve the citizens that elected you, Ola. Note that I did not put "judge" in front of your name.

Then again...

He was found guilty once.
Even confessed to doing it and said he was sorry.
So why'd he appeal?

Obviously because he can't do the time, and is fearful about the reprucusions it has on his job. Look at NHC's McMahon's stance on alcohol with his deputies - if you get caught and alcohol is involved they are gone no questions necessary.

This man is a coward. He says case closed, I say when he resigns then case will be closed.

I doubt it was his first DWI offense either, just the first time he was caught.

Bruncwick County should send the message loud and clear here - no tolerance.

I saw another report

I saw another report that supports what you said. Judge Lewis has been a good judge for Brunswick County. It seems to me that a certain tv station is going out of its way to perpetuate this clearly biased view of what happened. If you can't report both sides of the story then you shouldn't report it at all.

In addition, it appears that Mr. House was represented by the best attorney in Brunswick County.

A foul funk

A very foul funk is flowing from Judge Lewis.

Very foul indeed. Judge

Very foul indeed. Judge Lewis is on the same boat with Rex Gore. The both of them knew what they where doing. Rex has made statements in the past on how he has gotten a DWI court set up to speed up the process of prosecuting DWI. Looks like this speed up went to slow down. The Cheif wasn't pleased with his sentence Jolly gave him so he appealed it to higher court, that is his right, but Rex drug this case on and on just so it could get swept under the rug, as a few say. But ole Rex and Lewis got caught. They did'nt know that eyes was watching him. The three got together and decided to handle everything behind closed doors and play role the judicial system. Shame on you Judge Lewis. Did'nt you see what happened to your puppet Rex? He want be your DA anymore. And of course Mr. R.C. Soles is no longer holding a position. Kinda makes you say "HMMM???". Politics and voting goes hand and hand.

A very foul funk flowing

A very foul funk flowing from a fire chief also.