Carteret County deputy resigns after wreck, DWI charge

ATLANTIC, CARTERET COUNTY - A Carteret County deputy has resigned after crashing his vehicle and being charged with DWI.

James Willis was working as a deputy for the Carteret County Sheriff's Office when he ran off the road and crashed his assigned county vehicle at about 11 p.m. Monday, investigators said. The wreck happened on Shell Road in Atlantic.

No other vehicles were involved and Willis was not injured, according to the Sheriff's Office.

The Highway Patrol was called in to investigate, and troopers determined that Willis may have been operating the vehicle while under the influence of an impairing substance. A drug screen showed that neither alcohol nor illegal drugs were involved, the Sheriff's Office stated.

Investigators said they believe Willis may have been impaired by medication that was legally prescribed to him by a doctor.

Willis was charged with driving while impaired and has since resigned as a deputy at the Sheriff's Office, said investigators.

"I have been saying for many years now that a lot of people are operating vehicles on our highways who are prescribed a number of different medications," said Sheriff Asa Buck. "Many of these medications can and do affect people in different ways. However, it is each individual's responsibility, if they are prescribed potentially impairing medication, to only operate a motor vehicle when they can safely do so and are not impaired by their medication."

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