Sources: Trooper's drunk driving incident covered up

Captain James Williams

April 15, 2010 8:27:46 PM PDT
On Wednesday, allegations surfaced that a Highway Patrol trooper drove drunk and it was later covered up.Multiple sources tell ABC11 Eyewitness News that Captain James Williams was pulled over after he was spotted driving erratically in his own car on I-85 near Butner on April 3.

Williams is in charge of all field activity in Troop C, which covers 14 counties.

Officials are conducting internal investigations at both the Highway Patrol and the Butner Police Department. On Thursday, investigators from the Highway Patrol visited the Butner Police Department in search of more answers.

They say the officers contacted their supervisor when they realized who Williams was and were told to release him. Apparently they said he was too drunk. Instead of charging him, they took him to a local hotel.

The Highway Patrol investigator also paid a visit to the hotel, catching the owner Atul Patel off guard. Patel says Major Gary Bell wouldn't answer his questions either.

"Because of the privacy issue he did not explain anything, you know, what's going on and why he's here," Patel said. "He's just looking for one of our employees is all."

The North Carolina Department of Crime Control and Public Safety confirms that Williams is on administrative leave, along with two Butner officers.

A spokesperson for Governor Bev Perdue released a statement Wednesday that says the governor is committed to a thorough investigation of any allegation against a state employee.

"Crime Control and Public Safety should get to the bottom of this quickly and secure the true facts of the case," Communications Director Chrissy Pearson said. "In the meantime, the governor remains committed to zero tolerance of any illegal or unethical conduct by those who serve the citizens of this state. "

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