JACKSONVILLE, Onslow County - An Onslow County Board of Education member is accepting responsibility for his DWI ahead of a special school board meeting concerning his behavior.
Despite the DWI, he does not plan on stepping down from his position. Jonathan Andrew Merritt, 35, of Richlands, was charged with driving while impaired on March 20.
"I had a severe lack in judgment and made the decision to drive when I shouldn't have and the only thing I can say is I thank God nobody was injured," Merritt said.
Merritt is now acknowledging that he has issues with drinking and is seeking professional help.
"Alcohol is a problem and is something that this issue has really caused me to focus on. I've reached out to the medical staff and the counselors that I needed to to get control of this problem and move forward," Merritt said.
Merritt has also been accused of showing up to school board meetings smelling of alcohol. He is admitting to one occasion in particular that he remembers drinking beforehand.
"I was in town two hours early, I stopped and ate a basket of cheese fries and had a beer with it before I went and I understand that was probably not the smartest thing in the world to do," Merritt said.
Merritt said it was a tough decision not to resign, but he wants to move on from his past mistakes.
"If I resign because of this, then I let this issue define me as a person and that's not who I am," said Merrit. " I believe the only way I can regain the public trust and confidence of the people who supported me and the people that I represent is to take step by step and get this alcohol problem fixed step by step and move forward to regain their trust."