LELAND, NC (WWAY) — A Leland Police officer is off the streets after he was cited for DWI over the weekend, but the town says there might be more to the story.
“There is a silver Dodge pick-up truck driving erratically, a high rate of speed,” a caller told New Hanover County 911 Saturday morning. “He has run off the road and almost hit trees several times.”
Multiple calls to dispatch like this one led the Pender County Sheriff’s Office to Leland Police officer Ryan O’Connor.
“He’s really driving like… ah, I don’t know, like I don’t know,” the concerned driver reported. “It’s hard to explain. I’ve never seen it before in my life.”
The calls started coming in after drivers spotted the truck near the Battleship North Carolina on US 421. One driver followed it to I-140 then I-40, where a Pender County deputy pulled O’Connor over in the undercover, town-owned truck.
When O’Connor identified himself as a police officer, the deputy called in Highway Patrol to take over.
A news release from the Town of Leland says breath tests at showed no alcohol in O’Connor’s system. Troopers took him to the hospital for a blood draw.
Highway Patrol Sgt. T.A. Sinclair says two troopers, including a drug recognition expert, believed O’Connor was impaired, which led to his DWI citation.
Leland Town Manager David Hollis says a day before the incident O’Connor slipped and hit his head while working. He said O’Connor was sent home that night because he was lethargic after the accident.
Hollis says a doctor later diagnosed O’Connor with a concussion. O’Connor has filed a workers comp claim. He is on paid leave until Leland Police and Highway Patrol complete their investigations.
Hollis says Highway Patrol suspended O’Connor’s license for 30 days.