FIRST ON 3: Witnesses accuse state senator of hit and run

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Submitted: Tue, 05/06/2014 - 3:58am
Updated: Tue, 05/06/2014 - 4:57pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Witnesses say a state senator was behind the wheel of a vehicle involved in a hit-and-run accident in downtown Wilmington last night.

The crew of a movie shooting on Princess Street says they saw Sen. Bill Rabon (R-8th District) drive off after hitting a parked car in a parking lot at 2nd and Princess, but the senator says he had no idea.

A witness, who did not want to go on camera, says he saw a man in a white GMC Sierra hit another car before trying to take off. The man says he stepped in to see if the driver was OK and to make sure he would “do the right thing,” but he was surprised when the driver instead drove off and never returned.”

The witness told officers the driver was Sen. Rabon. He says Rabon told him he would make it right before leaving.

The general manager of The Greeks restaurant next door says he and his staff were finishing up a meeting when they heard the commotion.

“We heard a big sound. We were back here in the parking lot, so we didn’t think much of it, and we run out here and we just saw a white truck, like a GMC Sierra basically almost peeling out of here,” Yanni Papanikoulaou said.

Rabon, a self-proclaimed bad driver, says he thinks he had a few drinks with Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo and Rep. Susi Hamilton (D-18th District) after Sunday afternoon’s film rally, but he says he was not impaired when he got in his car to drive home.

Rabon, who admits he has trouble hearing, says he thought the person who walked up to him was directing traffic and asked if he was turning right. He says if he hit a car, he had no idea, but would be more than happy to pay for any damage he may have caused.

Wilmington police say they are investigating but have not identified the driver yet. They say the car involved in the accident is a white GMC Sierra registered to Rabon.


  • Timothy Turner says:

    “Sounds just like a Republican to me. Does whatever he wants and then lies or refuses to talk to cover it up.” Sounds more like a Dem to me; that was sure what Bill Clinton did about Monica!

  • sweetfire lizzie says:

    I bet those hippies crashed his GMC Sierra into a parked car and THEN put the Senator behind the wheel. Any more “he’s a victim of the liberal agenda” theories? Seriously, the man left the scene because he knew he would likely blow DUI levels. There is only one thing politicians are good at, covering their backside.

  • Vog46 says:

    It figures.
    They go to a “rally” that shows how LITTLE film supporters care.
    They get disappointed by the limited turnout and what do the politicians do?
    They do what everyone does down town.
    they get all liquored up.
    Republican and Democrats – males and female.
    Rabon was stupid enough to whack another vehicle.
    Susie did the Democratic thing and crawled home.
    Mayor ‘Poofy Do probably drove ’cause he is the Mayor.

    Why does NONE of this surprise me??


  • Fishy says:

    The film crew were there filming while a film protest against Politicians voting about film incentives was going on, something sounds fishy about whether that yellow car tapped into Rabons truck as a set up. All these witnesses suddenly sounds fishy too, the Greeks restaurant is close chums with the film people. Rabon’s truck was there unattended in the film crews reach for hours, none of this makes sense.

  • tke1 says:

    Sounds like a Republican, huh?? If the senator is guilty of this minor accident and leaving the scene he must have learned that trick from “the Lion of the Senate” Ted Kennedy (DEMOCRAT-MASS) who was drunk, ran off a bridge into a creek, drowning his female “companion” and leaving her in the bottom of the creek until Teddy felt politically safe enough to report the accident the next day. He never checked to see if Mary Jo had survived or anything until his political ducks were in order. Just in case you missed it, Kennedy was a DEMOCRAT and was the darling of the democrat party.

  • Janie WIthers says:

    Senator Bill Rabon hits a car, does not know he hit it, admits to “having a few drinks”, leaves the scene! If that were you or I, we would be arrested. I guess it really does pay to be a NC Senator!

  • BK says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard a worse explanation for having too much to drink, hitting a car, and then driving off. I hate that he is one of the politicians supporting the film incentives(WHICH I SUPPORT!), but if he can lie so easily about this incident, I’m not sure you can trust anything he claims to support.

  • Timekeeper says:

    He THINKS he had a few drinks?????? He doesn’t even know if he was drinking, claims he does not know he hit a car and HE is helping make laws you and I must follow. Gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling all over.

  • Ray Wierschem says:

    Shouldn’t Senator Rabon be charged??
    The average person fleeing the scene would have consequences!!
    At least he didn’t use bad language this time as he has apologized for in the past…

  • Cher says:

    Why is he not in Jail for fleeing the scene of an accident ?
    That is against the law . Just because he is a Senator the laws
    don’t apply to him ? I don’t think a double standard is fair to
    the rest of the law abiding citizens

  • oldratched says:

    So, in the middle of his puppy mill bill disaster, he pulls this stunt? Let’s hope the media and law enforcement do their due diligence and check this man’s tab and find out how much alcohol was consumed and the timeline. I would also wonder who paid the tab? Hope it wasn’t the taxpayers…The fact he was drinking with dems is very interesting. Also, he uses his deafness very conveniently. That doesn’t negate the fact he would have FELT the impact would it? Perhaps his license should be revoked. In addition to drinking, he’s deaf and apparently has lost his sense of touch as well. All very convenient. Oh, this man should have been primaried by a real conservative who actually is a citizen servant.

  • Pappi says:

    Hey, readers, I’ve got a terrific idea, and I think you’ll agree.

    Why don’t we ask the mayor and city councilors to turn downtown Wilmington into a “Demolition Derby for Drunk Drivers” every weekend from Friday night through Saturday night (time off for the Sabbath)

    An amazing, sizzling idea that trumps tired, old azalea and river festivals, don’t you think? Of course you would have to get downtown business owners (bars mostly) to agree, and since it would bring a sense of excitement and perhaps more revenue, I’m sure they would be all for it.

    And the film companies would love it! An action movie haven for Hollowoodlawn.

  • Churchill Hornstein says:

    After listening to his comments on WHQR about how everyone has to “play ball” with him and his party, how he’s the right man at the right time, how nobody who isn’t on his team has a chance of doing anything in state government, etc. etc. etc., I am reminded that “Pride goeth before a fall.”
    Senator Rabon needs to be booked into the county jail for fleeing the scene of an accident, investigated for DWI and made to feel the pinch of putting his own self-interest above that of the people he is paid to represent. His behavior is shameful and arrogant, a blight on our city and Brunswick County. How does anyone expect the common man to toe the line when people who are supposed to set an example for the rest of us are treated differently by the authorities? It is a recipe for the sad state of our society. Rabon is an embarrassment to our city and state. Drinking and driving are a lousy combination. If the man damaged someone else’s property and has nothing better to say than he can’t recall how much he drank, somebody needs to explain to me why he hasn’t been charged.
    Chief Evangelous, please do your job.

  • Rusty says:

    The last DUI I got (Circa 1990) when the officer asked how much I had to drink that night I truthfully responded “Well Sir I wasn’t counting” I blew a .17 The deputy had been behind me for a long time on another call and only stopped me because the intersection I encountered had just changed to more lanes turning left and I swerved to a straight lane at the last moment. So how impaired must he have been? In my heavy drinking and still driving days I never hit another car.. (TG those days are behind me.)

  • Run of the Mill says:

    And don’t forget he describes himself as the third most powerful Senator in the State. So he can do whatever he wants.

  • Right Fighter says:

    Hmm…interesting chain of events, guess John Q public would have already been charged, arrested, and in an orange jump suit for hit and run along with fleeing scene of an accident. Then again John Q public isn’t responsible for making laws in NC with such a bad memory, hearing deficits that don’t allow you to hear someone face to face, and having a few under his belt before getting behind a wheel. Wonder how that combo works for him when the Senate is convening to vote for laws that affect John Q Public? Should someone remind him he’s a vet and opposed SB930, the Puppy Mill Bill that passed the House with flying colors? Perhaps he couldn’t hear or remember that huge bust in his own County? Should he be reminded of those issues he’s opposed that have environmentalist, education supporters, and equal rights picket supporters lines in front of his office regularly? Fortunately Brunswick County has an Senate opponent running for office who is invested in the betterment of our State with good hearing, good memory, and a sober conscious.

  • Ann says:

    I have known Senator or Dr. Bill as all call him, he is very hard of hearing, I can objectively look at this and opine 1)Someone approaching and asking are you all right and Sen. Rabon thinking are you turning right? 2)I question the validity of the cafĂ© worker hearing a big boom when only 200.00 dollars worth of damage to the vehicle happened. Not plausible 3)if you ate something and had a drink or two this does NOT automatically render you intoxicated. If you do not know you hit something then you don’t know. This isn’t the end of the world. Pay the damages if any and get on with it. Do not make a mountain out of a mole hill. End of story. I have seen older people hit things and not know it. Looks like some bi-partisanship is going on, another crime? I am sure the receipts will be well scrutinized before it is over, I doubt the people paid for it. But get a subpoena and investigate the receipt. Me, I have bigger fish to fry.

  • 9734 says:

    Sen. Rabon, when you get to the point when you don’t know if you hit another car or not you’ve probably had more than a few drinks….it’s very telling when you have to say “I think” I had a “few drinks” but listen folks, we can rest easy because nothing is going to happen to the senator, it’s too late for a breathalyzer test now so he is home free, maybe a small fine but that’s about it….again, this guy is a state senator, that alone will get him off the hook but it wouldn’t get the average hardworking taxpayer like me or you off the hook.

  • eddie says:

    WILMINGTON P.D will do as all good little puppy dogs do and listen to there bosses and do nothing at all. Anyone else in Wilmington would have been charged already, but the bosses say no this time. Good little doggie, let me get you a bone

  • Brunswick123 says:

    You hit the nail on the head. If he “thinks” he had a drink that means he had one to many!

  • Shocked says:

    He was endorsed by Mothers Against Drunk Driving last year for being “a champion” in the fight against drunk driving. Yes, politicians are humans and make mistakes but this sort of hypocrisy and double standard is the reason why we have so little faith in those in public office. He needs to be held to the same standard and accountability as the rest of us.

  • Janie says:

    Rabon will never be charged because the Wilmington PD have received their “instruction” as to what they are to do. We have always herd that ignorance of the law is no excuse. He did not know he should not leave the scene of the accident. I am amazed to learn that the laws that apply to citizens do not apply to our politicians. Shame on Wilmington PD!

  • Jens says:

    So we have determined that Bill Rabon was driving but if that was the case and he was drinking with Saffo and Hamilton, couldn’t that mean that there were 3 drunk elected officials behind the wheel that night. It’s alright though folks, Saffo will use his political clout in order to sweep this under the rug.

  • Vog46 says:

    Might I suggest using the area around Kenan fountain for the Demolition derby?
    It would finally get this historic relic out of the street.
    Or maybe someone would come to their sense before the first derby and move it.


  • Paul Scott says:

    Anyone who has been involved in even the most minor collision knows that two things are certain. It makes a loud noise and there is an unavoidable sensation of the impact. Witnesses to the latest Bill Rabon debacle were alerted to the incident by the sound of the collision. Yet Mr. Rabon claims he was completely unaware it took place. He also claims that he was not impaired at the time. If either of those statements is true I find it very difficult to believe the other. His actions immediately afterward, fleeing the scene, cast even more doubt on his version of the story. Only one person knows the whole truth about what happened in that parking lot but given Mr. Rabon’s obvious contempt for his constituents we are not likely to ever hear it.

  • alan says:

    Ignorance is no excuse. He should be charged for fleeing the scene of the accident. If it takes charges that the common man would receive to teach him he is reckless and needs to stay off the roads then so be it, that is what the law is there for.

  • maria giresi says:

    has anyone confirmed this with wilmington’s mayor snafu? curious to hear what he “thinks”…..

  • brian says:

    Wow, you don’t sound very objective.The man admitted to having a few drinks. I question the validity of your statement, sounds like in your eyes Dr. Bill can do know wrong. Be thankful he didn’t harm anyone, every one should be held accountable for their actions,Dr. Bill included. Shame on you for being a cheerleader for his actions

  • Thomas Parker says:

    Maybe. But we do know only one left the scene of an accident

  • Marcus says:

    Let me think about this one….can’t see, can’t hear, can’t drive, can’t feel collision impact, don’t know if he had too many drinks, and responded to bystander intervention to help by fleeing the scene. Perhaps either his brain was impaired or he actually lacks one as appears validated from his incredibly stupid story line. Yup! Sounds like Bill Rabon to me.

  • Domain says:

    DOT makes the rules, write them if you would like to complain!

  • Downtowner says:

    Rep Hamilton lives downtown and walks everywhere. I saw her walking home Sunday night around 8:30 with her family.

  • Anne says:

    You must be in his pocket. He knew.

  • Guy Incognito says:

    Where does it say $200.00 in the article?

  • burgerboy says:

    I bet you anything them supposed witnesses were democrats that were paid off to try to make it look like old rabon was drunk up runnin over ppl which could not be further from the case, anytime a republican has a few brews and drives the media has a field day like when old brian burger was out partyin and got catched supposedly drunk up, but u know if it was a libber dumbocrat that them media ppl wouldn’t say nothing abot it and say he was a good boy and hims didn’t do nothin wrong which hereby shows the slanderouse nature of them libelouse libber dingbats!!!

  • 9743 says:

    No, it doesn’t have to mean that there were 3 drunk elected officials behind the wheel that night, it simply means the other two were probably smart enough to take a taxi, but I almost forgot, senator Rabon is a republican.

  • deputy25 says:

    well, sounds like to me he is a DINO. sure has put the spin on his story, spin= LIES!! he should be charged like anyone else and Saffo, or SNAFU should be called in to be disposed and tell all he knows and anyone else with the LIAR that night!

  • guesty says:

    That is the damage amount that was reported on the TV news when this story was reported.

  • Guest000000 says:

    Sounds just like a Republican to me. Does whatever he wants and then lies or refuses to talk to cover it up. Maybe this one won’t go away as easily as referring to fellow lawmakers as a bunch of PU****s in front of a group of women voters. Maybe the self-proclaimed “Most powerful State Senator” won’t be able to worm his way out of this one.

  • guest45 says:

    CORRECTION! he is only a “republican” in name, all his ctions and votes suggest he is a far left leaning liberal!

  • Anne says:

    I’m not sure what is more stupid; your post or…..just you.

  • L. Walker says:

    Let me get this straight….Senator Rabon was drinking, left the bar, hits a car, leaves the scene of the accident ???? WOW !
    SHAME, SHAME, SHAME Senator,Dr. Rabon. The high school and college
    students are looking at this. You are suppose to lead by example,
    not go from one embarrassing incident to another.

    The puppy mills, leaving the scene of an accident WHAT IS NEXT, SURELY

  • Jason S says:

    If that had been any of us, we would have been arrested for hit and run, and dui.
    And no, you do not have to been seen by anyone drinking and driving to be charged for DUI, nor do you have to be in your vehicle.
    Police in the state of NC, need only reasonable suspicion, that you were drinking and driving, to charge and convict on a DUI.
    This senator states he had a ‘few’ drinks, then witnesses say he hit a vehicle then fled the scene of an accident?
    Why is this man above the law? If anything he should be held to higher standards, as a representative of the people!
    Why is it fair that the normal citizen should be charged, but Mr. Senator here, has not been charged? He should be the one setting the standard, not the one that’s getting away with crimes just because he is a self-proclaimed bad driver.. That’s absurd.

  • SurfCityTom says:

    be held to the same high standards as Brian Berger or any other citizen?

    Witnesses stepped forward and confirm he was the driver who hit a parked car and left the scene of an accident.

    That’s a crime.

    Has an officer been dispatched to issue a summons?

    He admits he had a few drinks with Puff Daddy Saffo and Susi “what’s a balanced budget” Hamilton.

    Has an officer been tasked with questioning them both as to his consumption amount and the time frame?

    He says he was not impaired; but he left the scene of an accident which he caused.

    Book Him.

  • beach here says:

    he didnt stop because he might been to drunk to know what happen

  • Wilmy guest says:

    If a film production crew is the witness to a politician leaving an event where the film crews are rallying to stop the vote on NC cutting the film incentives, maybe we could see a damage photo before we assume this happened or one could reasonably consider this was staged somehow?

  • Ann says:

    Now this I can see has some traction. This is more like it.

  • V. says:

    But he supports the film incentives so…what you’re saying doesn’t make sense.

  • guestginger says:

    Senators Rabon and Goolsby, along with Rep. Ted Davis (all Republicans, btw) SUPPORT the NC film incentives and the jobs/revenue they bring to the area.

    Your claims/accusations are spurious at best, terribly misinformed at worst.

  • guest45 says:

    Rabon, a self-proclaimed bad driver, says he thinks he had a few drinks with Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo and Rep. Susi Hamilton (D-18th District) after Sunday afternoon’s film rally, but he says he was not impaired when he got in his car to drive home.

    Several things here, if you know you are a bad driver what are you doing driving?

    How can you “think” you had a few drinks?

    Meeting with 2 hard core demo rats proves that you are a RINO in name only!

  • John says:

    RINO is an acronym for Republican In Name Only. You dont need the “in name only” after RINO.

  • Radar says:

    If you can not remember how many drinks you had , it is fair to assume you are impaired. You know you are guilty when you are offering to pay for any damages. He was peeling out because he was in a serious predicament that could harm his reputation. WPD and Pretty Boy Saffo will be sure to sweep this one under the rug. Were Saffo and Hamilton impaired when they left to go home? Possibly but the Power Brokers are untouchable and the law is not applicable to these individuals just mere mortals.

    I am a conservative but there is no excuse for the Republican state senator.

  • Oh yeah, says:

    I think there are some pants on fire here. Let’s see how this is handled in the courts. I know what would happen if it was a “regular” citizen instead of a politician.

  • jones says:

    Everything about this guy’s story in regard to the incident sounds like BS to me.

  • Low Tide Junkie says:

    Perhaps someone might want to visit that bar in Wilmington and check the tab to see how much the party enjoyed and who paid for it. Let’s hope it was NOT the taxpayers of NC.

    Do your job WWAY and send out an investigative reporter to uncover the facts of this story.

  • Janie says:

    I am equally amazed at the coverage this incident received in the Star News! Totally different story. I wonder who paid off the Star to write their sugar coated little story. If you want to get the REAL FACTS, it seems you will have to go to WWAY NEWS. They are the only outlet who had the guts to report the facts in this story. They have not been bought out. Thank you WWAY for trying to educate the public. It is tough in an area with controlled media.

  • belasco says:

    With the utmost respect to your statement, I’ll simply add that if you are going to correct people’s spelling, grammar, and syntax on this thread, you’ve got a LOT of work ahead of you. Most, if not all, of the people that responded to this story did so in a way that made me realize that Rabon DOES accurately represent the people of this area.

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