FIRST ON 3: Brian Berger bonds out of jail after DWI arrest


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — New Hanover County Commissioner Brian Berger bonded out of jail around 7:30 p.m. Friday after being arrested overnight for DWI and drug possession.

A judge Friday afternoon denied a request by prosecutors to increase Berger’s bond from $5,000 to $15,000. Berger’s attorney Buddy Allard said he spoke to Berger’s family Friday. They said they would not post his bond.

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A New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office spokesman said Friday morning, Berger said he would post bond, but no one came to get him before 1 p.m. At that point, Berger had to stay to make his first court appearance by video from jail at 2 p.m.

WPD spokeswoman Linda Rawley said police got a call about a car stopped in the middle of the 3500 block of Masonboro Loop Road at 12:47 a.m.

“I was pulling into my neighborhood, and there is a car in the middle of the intersection. They’re parked. And it looks like somebody’s head is on the steering wheel, and they’re not responsive,” a female caller told a New Hanover County dispatcher.

The caller said the car was directly across from Parsley Elementary School. She said she was parked in the intersection with her hazard lights on to try to keep someone from hitting the vehicle.

“I tried honking on the horn and knocking on the door, but nobody is communicating with me, and I’m not trying to pry and look inside the car, but I’m not sure exactly what is going on,” the caller said.

The caller said it was a four-door black car with New York plates. Dispatch notes show it is a rental car.

“The way the car is parked, it looks like they were making a left-hand turn,” the caller told the dispatcher. “But, there’s no blinker on or anything, but they’re in the direction of incoming traffic.”

When the fire department and police arrived, they said they found Berger unconscious and slumped over the steering wheel. Rawley said officers also found several different pills with him.

According to dispatch notes, EMS reported Berger was out of the vehicle seven minutes after the initial call, awake and talking.

Berger is charged with DWI, impeding traffic and possession of schedule II drugs. Investigators said the pills they found were all prescription.

Berger is scheduled to be back in court Dec. 19 on the drug charge. His next court date on the DWI charge is set for Feb. 20.

This is the second time Berger has been arrested for DWI in less than a year. WPD arrested him on Dec. 18, 2012, for the same crime. Berger is due back in court Tuesday on that charge. The case has been delayed, in part, to allow the arresting officer, who now lives in New Jersey, to testify, District Attorney Ben David has said.

We reached out several times Friday to all of Berger’s fellow commissioners. None of them has returned our calls for comment.

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