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ONLY ON 3: Judge dismisses Fire Chief's DWI charge, refused to wait few hours for trooper

READ MORE: ONLY ON 3: Judge dismisses Fire Chief's DWI charge, refused to wait few hours for trooper

BRUNSWICK COUNTY (WWAY) - A Brunswick County Fire Chief is off the hook for a DWI charge after a judge decided to dismiss his case this week on a technicality.

Oak Island Fire Chief John House was charged with DWI in December 2008 when investigators say he was stopped at a checkpoint and blew a .14 - almost twice the legal limit of .08.

This week, House was scheduled for a case management hearing that included a supression motion. District Attorney Rex Gore says at the last minute, the Assistant D.A. handling the care realized she had subpoenaed the wrong state trooper to testify about how the checkpoint was set up. The trooper who could testify was at a meeting in Fayetteville, and couldn't get to Bolivia until later in the afternoon. Gore says the ADA asked for a continuance until the trooper could get there but Judge Ola Lewis denied the motion and threw out the charge.

When we talked to Gore this afternoon, he gave us a seemingly "politically correct" statement saying, "Given the people involved, and their professionalism, I'm certain that, while it's an unfortunate incident, everybody handled the situation as they thought best under the circumstances."

We talked to Judge Lewis this afternoon to get her side of the story. She told us that she couldn't comment because of something she called "judicial law." When we reminded her the case was over, she still wouldn't talk about it.

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.


House and the DWI

This is a very good example of there being two sets of laws; One for us and one for the officials that enforce them. I think everyone involved in this DWI disaster should be fired especially the Judge.

What about perse

My undestanding u lose it if you blow a .08 or above even if dismissed


My son was convicted of a DWI back in February.
He received 1 year with time cut in half. He will be out in July and he only blew a .07 not even the legal limit.You tell me that Brunswick County system is not fair. H**l, this man blew a .14. Yes, my son also had a
prior DWI.I'm not taking up for him,but everyone should be be treated equal, not matter who they are.RIGHT!

One of this board's more

One of this board's more august posters made a suggestion in another thread that immigration status of DWIs be checked at arrest. A great application of common sense AND a solid step in the right direction to protect the public's safety.

I'd like to add another item to the wish list. That would be the adoption of a judicial policy requiring the prompt disposition of DWI cases in the courts.

Eighteen months between arrest and trial is too long a time.

Mr. House got lucky. His only penalty is some bad press.

News Director Pickey's open letter to the judge is very compelling. His questions to the judge beg to be answered. I'm not going to hold my breath in expectation of anything of consequence being said by that judge or prosecutor.

Unlike the cases Mr. Pickey cites in his letter; Paradise, Garcia, Brennick, Petrolino and Canstantineau, for all of which news coverage disclosed many prior offenses... the information on Mr. House is thin.

I'm personally unsettled about the disposition of the case against this guy. If he has no record it could very well be that this was a remote event unlikely to be repeated. If there is a record, then a potential hardcore drunk driver is back endangering the public...

A .14 BAC represents a serious level of intoxication. This is more than an extra beer at a barbecue or finishing the half-glass of wine at a restaurant.

Very Good Points

and you are quite right. Registering a .14 signifies more than finishing off a beer or glass of wine at dinner.

Now here is a question which I have not seen posted.

What happens if he arrives at the scene of a fire and he has consumed to the point of registering more than .08?

In theory, as Chief, he would be directing the fire department response. Make the wrong decision, caused by alcohol, and you have the potential for more likely loss of life or increased property damage.

So, I for one am challenged as to how "no Comment" can be accepted by the folks of Oak Island when questions are asked.

For those who would question why someone who lives in Pender County would have posting rights on a Brunswick County issue -- easy -- I work down there and drive through to Myrtle Beach throughout the month. In fact, I was at Oak Island yesterday working.

The life that gets saved could be mine.

DWI dismissal

I know both Judge Lewis and John House, and I can positively assure you that NO ONE got paid to do anything wrong in this matter. Seems like the DA's office should get their affairs in order. If I had someone in my employ who was this off base, such as the Assistant DA was, then that person would be fired. Mr. House was entitled to a speedy trial, and one and a half years is NOT speedy. Good for Judge Lewis. She is one of the best Judges in our system.

Judge Ola and the drunk

Wow! Judge Ola Lewis has really stuck her foot in the muck. Getting down and dirty with the Good Ole Boys. Wonder if the firefighter was a Republican or a Democrat? Anyone know? Shame on her. "Here Come Da Judge."

Only one person to blame

This motion to suppress evidence had been continued for a lengthy period of time for the District Attorney's office to prepare for the motion. The DA's office were not prepared at all. The officer that was needed did not even get notified till the morning of that his presence was needed in court. Call Erin Holden at the Brunswick County District Attorney's Office 253-8200 to voice you complaints.

what a joke

If you havent figured out that the judge is obviously friends with the fire chief then get a brain. Its ok, he'll just repeat his actions and whind up killing someone. Like it always happens. Then his butt will go to jail.

i know the judge personally

i know the judge personally and let me tell you she knows her stuff......... she had her reasons for doing what she did and if she wants us to know then she would have told us...i am sure you all do not tell everyone your reasons for doing what you do...... so the man had a drink and drove,,, there was no accident and no one was hurt........... as for her being a dirty judge, she dont play and does not take to anything from anyone for her decisions....... dont hate, appreciate......... way to go judge keep doing your job

Had a drink and drove????

He definitely had many drinks before he drove. Ther was no accident or injury in large part because he was in handcuffs where he belonged before he could kill someone, you moron!!!

"So the man drink and drove"

"So the man drink and drove" Are you serious???? A "drink" doesn't cause you to blow a .14 Many drinks cause you to blow a .14 In other words, Driving While IMPAIRED. Learn something.

Reply to an idiot

You must be out of yor mind. So, NO ONE GOT HURT, well the next time he drinks and drives and someone does get hurt, I hope that it is not someone in your family however if it is we will expect no complaints from you, MAYBE OLA will comfort you, since you know her so personally, hmmmm!

Even if you do know the

Even if you do know the judge personally that has absolutely nothing to do with what she did concerning this case! There is NO REASON for her to let off a 2nd time DWI!! This is serious business! He COULD have been in an accident and killed or seriously hurt someone! What if it had been you or a family member? After I read this I thought what in the world? Then I saw Columbus County! Say no more!!!

Fire Chief John House has spoken.

way to stick up for your crony... Birds of a feather get tarred and feathered together in politics.

I have been a supporter of Judge Lewis, but

I do not agree with this decision.

It is not a matter of the man having a drink then getting behind the wheel. The man blew a .14 on the breathalyzer. That's almost double the legal limit in NC. The man was decidedly drunk and should not have been driving and he should not have gotten away with it. It was only by the grace of God that he didn't have an accident or hurt someone. And those of us who have to drive on the same roads as this man better be praying before we hit the road.


I beg to differ. The rule of no harm no foul does not apply to drunk drivers. To allow a known repeat offender to just walk. I hope and pray he does not kill someone while drinking and driving. If he does the judge should be convicted of acessory to murder. I also hope he is no longer a active fire fighter. I would not want a drunk driving a 25K pound fire truck.To support this judge on this ruling is to support drunk driving.

Kidding right?

That was about the dumbest thing said...well... today......

The "system" = FAIL
The judge = FAIL

Whenever a man goes out and drinks and drives he is a danger yes even to you. I know you don't get that but it's true. He should not have gotten out of answering for this. Simple.... well it's simple for most folks at any rate.

The sheeple follow along and accept what they are or are not told and blindly follow along with a song in their heart. **rolls eyes** If indeed ignorance is bliss you are surely one happy camper!

Oh My God!

OH MY GOD!! Are you kidding me with your post? "So the man had a drink and drove" His blood alcohol level was 0.14 which means he didn't have a drink, he had several drinks and drove. Correct there was not an accident, are you saying if there had been an accident then he should be punished for driving drunk?
Columbus County Resident, you are a friggin' I-D-I-O-T ! ! !

And all of you silly Henchmen......

...were blaming Ronald Hewitt for all of Brunswick County's corruption!!!

Looks like it goes a tad deeper than that now, doesn't it???

So how does it feel to have tarred and feathered the wrong guy?

Ron Hewett was no saint

If I am not mistaken there was plenty of evidence to support Ron Hewett's crimes. He is guilty and he spent time in the hoosegow for his crimes.

Hewitt was a criminal. He

Hewitt was a criminal. He deserved what he got. Just because there are dozens more criminals in office doesn't mean one should be let off the hook. We need to tar and feather ALL OF THEM!

Who said he was the wrong

Who said he was the wrong guy? Maybe he was just the first of many.

Shame On Everyone

If that had been me, I would have lost my job. Don't most municipalities suspend someone who has been implicated in DWI, IF they find out about it? Dec 2008 is a long time ago, why has it been SO LONG for this to come to court and why has not someone from Oak Island Administration taken the needed actions? Jerry are you looking the other way or were you even aware of it? Time to set an expample now and take some actions. If this had been a Public Works employee I would bet they would have been suspended when this was divulged. But since this involves top administration it probably got put in the drawer to be forgotten. The old adage of "he probably did not mean to drive or get caught" does not hold water.
Most municipal employees who get charged with DWI are generally suspended from their job until the trial, why has this not happened in Oak Island?
Time for some changes

dwi dismissal

Judge Lewis needs to be removed from the bench.I lost a year of my life being incarcerated for a D.U.I..I guess I need to drink and drive in Brunswick Co.

It's better to lose a year of your life...

than to lose your life due to driving drunk. You should count your blessings. Hopefully, you're not repeating the behavior that landed you behind bars.

I used to be in law

I used to be in law enforcement. I am coming to Oak Island on vacation in a few weeks. Does this mean I can drink and drive too?

good for him!

all that means is he had a good lawyer that knew to continue the case until something like this were to happen then it gets dismissed. congrats to his attorney!!

He had the best

He had the best attorney in Brunswick County. But, you also need to take into consideration the inept ADA that mishandled the case.

Congratulations! You have

Congratulations! You have done an outstanding job of identifying exactly why our judicial system is in it current state. It is not about right and wrong or who lives or dies but the lawyer who can manipulate the system best. If you don't believe this just ask O.J.
Think of this as you and your loved ones share the road.