Deputy Charged With DWI After Cruiser Crash

A Carteret County deputy has resigned after being arrested on a driving while impaired charge.

The Highway Patrol says they were called to an accident around 11:00 p.m. Monday night on Shell Road in Atlantic.

They say Deputy James Willis' unmarked county vehicle first struck a mailbox, went back on the road, and then hit a tree on the side of the road.

Troopers say the deputy was confused, and had very poor balance when he stepped out of his cruiser. He told the Highway Patrol he was prescribed Ambien, but couldn't say when he last took it.

The sheriff's office says following a drug screen performed at the hospital, it was determined that Willis may have been impaired by medicine prescribed to him, according to a county news release.

The deputy was also charged with failure to maintain lane control.

There was no mugshot taken of Willis, who had been a deputy for 20 years.