Local News

Wayne County Deputy Fired After DWI Arrest

Posted September 12, 2006 5:53 a.m. EDT

— A Wayne County sheriff's deputy has been fired from his job because he was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated.

Wayne County Sheriff Carey Winders said that deputy Matt Sasser was terminated following the arrest, which came after a single-automobile accident about 3:30 a.m. Tuesday on Raines Crossroads Road, a rural Johnston County road 3 miles from the Wayne County line.

Winders said Sasser was off duty at the time of the accident, but was in his patrol car and wearing his uniform. He had not been authorized to be outside Wayne County in the patrol car, the sheriff said.

Sasser, 23, sustained minor injuries. The patrol car was estimated to be a total loss.

According to the Wayne County Sheriff's Office, Sasser had got off of work at about 2 a.m. and had apparently gone to visit a friend -- identified as state Highway Patrol Trooper Matthew Hollomon -- in Johnston County.

Authorities said Sasser was not at the scene when investigators arrived, but returned after 5:30 a.m. His blood-alcohol level at that time registered about 0.08, right at the state's legal limit.

The state Highway Patrol is investigating the accident, as well as the report that Sasser was at a state trooper's home before it. A patrol representative, however, said he could not immediately comment on the case.

Winders said Tuesday afternoon that Sasser had been with the Wayne County Sheriff's Office for almost a year and that the accident was an "unfortunate and sad event" because Sasser had proven to be a very good deputy and appeared to have a good future in law enforcement.

"This is a letdown for us right now, we know that," Winders said. "But in no way should it reflect on the professionalism that we're carrying out because of one person's actions."

Tuesday's arrest marked the second DWI charge against a law enforcement officer in two days. Off-duty state trooper Darjan N. Smith was charged after he crashed his motorcycle early Monday morning.

The Highway Patrol is investigating that accident.