KURE BEACH, NC (WWAY)-- The cops pulled him over after spotting him driving with no front tire. Investigators say Charles Holden, son of former Southport Mayor Norman Holden, admitted he had been drinking and was under the influence of prescription drugs. But in May - a New Hanover County judge found him not guilty of driving while impaired. A viewer of ours just brought the case to our attention.
On January 16th 2009, Kure Beach Lieutenant Paul Hubbard responded to a call about an SUV driving on three tires and one rim. Lieutenant Hubbard pulled over Charles Holden. According to Hubbard's report he immediately detected the odor of an alcoholic beverage on Holden's breath. Hubbard says Holden's speech was slurred and his eyes were red and glassy.
Holden performed and failed several field sobriety tests. He was arrested and taken back to the Carolina Beach Police Station. Even though Holden failed the field sobriety tests, which were captured on the police dash cam, when he got back to the station he blew a .06. However, they say alcohol wasn't the only drug affecting his abilities.
According to the report Holden admitted to taking the prescription drug Lorazapam in addition to drinking. He was aware the drug should not be taken with alcohol and understood he should not drive while taking the drug. He also admitted to being recognized as the "mayor's son" during a previous DWI arrest in which, the charges were dropped even though he'd consumed alcohol and taken about 14 prescription drugs.
“If you don't heed those warnings about not operating machinery or not operating motor vehicles and you get behind the wheel of a car, you can injure somebody just as easily as if you had consumed alcohol,” said Lieutenant Paul Hubbard.
Lieutenant Hubbard testified when the case was heard in May. According to witnesses so did Charles Holden's father Norman, who picked up his son the night of the incident, but Norman, the former Southport Mayor, denied testifying on his son's behalf.
Judge John Carroll heard the case. Despite Holden admitting to taking the prescription drugs, failing the field sobriety tests, and driving about a mile on the rim of his car, Judge Carroll found Holden not guilty.
We couldn't reach Charles Holden for comment and Judge Carroll did not return our phone calls.
Holden's criminal record shows at least three DWI convictions. He's also been found guilty of communicating threats.
EDITOR'S NOTE - WHILE HOLDEN WAS PULLED OVER IN JANUARY 2009, HIS CASE DIDN'T GO BEFORE JUDGE CARROLL UNTIL MAY OF THIS YEAR.