Another black eye for Highway Patrol?

Trooper Stephanie Young

May 25, 2011 1:39:51 PM PDT
A former law enforcement officer said Wednesday that he's "disgusted" by allegations about a North Carolina Highway Patrol officer that came to light in a hearing before the N.C. Industrial Commission.

Macks Pickett - a long-time Wake County Sheriff's deputy who rose to the rank of captain before retiring - said Trooper Stephanie Young should be fired.

According to court documents, Trooper Young arrested private investigator Rick G. Eatmon in 2005 during a traffic stop.

Eatmon alleges Young charged him with resisting a public officer, failing to signal before changing lanes, and two counts of carrying a concealed weapon because he was investigating whether Young's father was having an affair.

The father was a Rocky Mount police sergeant who was preparing a run for Nash County sheriff. Eatmon has settled lawsuits against Rocky Mount, Young, and Young's father David Hawkins.

He's seeking more compensation from the state.

Court documents show the state doesn't dispute Eatmon's allegations, yet following an internal investigation, she received a two-day suspension.

Pickett said he's stunned by the leniency of the punishment.

"That is the most unethical thing that can be done," he said.

"She committed kidnapping, false arrest, and the Highway Patrol gives her two days and doesn't even move her out of the county," he continued.

Pickett told ABC11 that he's outraged not only about the incident, but also that it didn't come to light until the private investigator filed suit against the state.

"They can reinvestigate it," said Prickett. "It would be to their advantage and the colonel's advantage to reinvestigate it because whoever investigated it the first time sure didn't do what they were supposed to do."

ABC11 reached out to the Highway Patrol and was told Colonel Michael Gilchrist was not available for an interview.

Colonel Gilchrist took over the top job at the Highway Patrol in October following a series of scandals that dogged the department ranging from drunken driving arrests to sending inappropriate text messages.

A spokesperson did say the department can't reopen its 2005 investigation, saying that would be akin to double jeopardy in the legal system.

Since the 2005 incident, Trooper Young has received three pay raises for her job performance.

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