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Police: Rocky Mount officer hit by drunk driver

Posted November 20, 2008
Updated November 23, 2008

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— A Rocky Mount police officer arresting one man on charges of driving while impaired was hit by a car driven by another man who police say was drunk.

Police said Officer Jill Tyson-Johnson, 33, had pulled over Paul Walter Schafer at 2045 Woodruff Road on suspicion of DWI and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

While she and another officer were searching Schafer on the side of the road, a car driven by Charles Shurbutt, 47, of 701 Colony Square, struck Tyson-Johnson and her vehicle, the department said in a statement Friday.

Police said the incident happened about 8:45 p.m. It happened about a mile from where Officer Alan Silver was killed in a crash 18 months ago while answering a call.

Investigators said that Shurbutt drove away from the scene, but rear-ended a vehicle driven by George Thomas Davis, of Scotland Neck, near Benvenue Road and Winterberry Drive. The second wreck occurred about 2 miles from the first.

Shurbutt also fled that scene, but his vehicle had become disabled from the two wrecks, officers said. State troopers and police officers arrested him without incident at Benvenue and Bridgewood roads.

Tyson-Johnson was treated at Nash Health Care Center for non-life-threatening injuries and released.

Police said they took Shurbutt took the Nash County Jail and began processing him on DWI charges. However, due to his high blood-alcohol content, they had to involuntarily commit him to Nash Health Care Systems, officers said.

Shurbutt remained in the hospital Friday morning.

No one else was injured in the wrecks.

Police obtained warrants against Shurbutt for felony serious injury by vehicle, felony hit-and-run and failing to stop for an injury, DWI and misdemeanor hit-and-run and failure to stop for property damage.

Officers planned to serve the warrants when Shurbutt is released from the hospital, they said.


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  • chris0628 Nov 21, 2008

    It's a sad situation. J hope this alcoholic gets the treatment he need! I feel that he needs to serve jail time. He could've have killed someone. Keep this drunk off the road for good!!!

  • gottasay Nov 21, 2008

    I use to work for RMPD and my prayers are with Jill. Hopefully RMPD will step up this time and back the officer. They have thrown several out because of on duty injuries.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Nov 21, 2008

    COPs eye, thanks. :-)

  • COPs eye Nov 21, 2008

    hereandnow99: technicalities are not what allow our system to free innnocent people, more often the guilty go free because of technicalities. The law is clear if a person has a Breath Alcohol Content of .08 then they are in violation of the law. Guilty enough said. A person does not have to be at or abpoove .08 in order to be appreciably impaired enough to operate a motor vehicle. That is the legal limit. .08 is not one or two drinks btw it is quite abit more depending on your body composisition and time frame of consumption and wether your stomach is empty or not. Technicalities I am speaking of have nothing to do with the BRAC it is the filing of papers etc.

  • Love my boys Nov 21, 2008

    Glad she is okay and able to make a full and speedy recovery at home.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Nov 21, 2008

    giovanni777777, alcohol was illegal once. Remember? How'd that work out? Can you say Al Capone? It's exactly where we are with other illegal drugs these days...creating mobsters, gangs, where we could be creating revenue to better our community.

  • anonemoose Nov 21, 2008

    I'm glad the officer is okay, and hope she gets to hit him back.

    My question is why was she searching him either on the left side of the cars, or between them. Why wasn't she in a better position?

    Maybe she needs to see the video " A bullet your vest won't stop"'

  • giovanni777777 Nov 21, 2008

    Alcohol should be illegal.

  • FragmentFour Nov 21, 2008

    Since Fayetteville is considering charging a 9 year old with assault with a deadly weapon for poking another student with a pencil, it looks like that charge might AT LEAST be considered in this case.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Nov 21, 2008

    COPSs eye, aren't "technicalities" what keep our justice system working and making sure that we don't jail wrong people or that they retain their Constitutional rights? I mean, we're trying to have a better system than when people were just tried and convicted of being witches just on hearsay. It's not perfect, but what do we lose, what do we become, if we can't follow all of our country's hard fought rights? ...baby and bathwater and all that. :-)