Local News

Vance sheriff's daughter charged with DWI

Posted July 3, 2008 12:40 p.m. EDT
Updated July 7, 2008 9:30 p.m. EDT

— The daughter of Vance County Sheriff Peter White was arrested Thursday on a misdemeanor driving while impaired charge in connection with an Easter Sunday traffic stop.

The charge comes more than three months after deputies stopped Shahita White, 34, near Henderson on March 23 after drivers called 911 to report an SUV swerving through traffic as it headed the wrong way on U.S. Highway 1. Callers said the driver appeared to be drunk.

Deputies called radio dispatchers, saying Shahita White was "blistered," and asked that Sheriff White be notified. He later picked his daughter up from the scene, and she was charged with reckless driving.

She pleaded guilty on May 15 and was given a 30-day suspended sentence and placed on unsupervised probation for a year.

Vance County District Attorney Sam Currin initially said he could not pursue drunken-driving charges against her because no roadside sobriety test had been administered.

He would not comment specifically about the case Thursday but said the DWI charge was the result of a "very thorough" review by the State Bureau of Investigation and that he is requesting a judge from outside the county be brought in to handle the case.

In internal memos filed after the stop, two Henderson police officers who assisted, wrote that Shahita White slapped a deputy's arm and refused to cooperate with a second sobriety test after the first one failed to register a reading.

The officers described her as smelling of alcohol, being unsteady on her feet, slurring her speech and having red, glassy eyes. The SUV had damage on the driver's side, the officers also noted.

Currin later requested that the SBI review the case, saying details provided by the officers established probable cause for a DWI.

Sheriff White, who has denied interfering in the initial investigation, would not comment on the DWI charge Thursday, only saying, "We'll have to wait to see how this plays out in the court system,"

He said the charge was filed at the insistence of the district attorney and that he believes his deputies handled the traffic stop properly.

"I have not found any wrongdoing on behalf of any law enforcement officers," he said.

Shahita White was released after her arrest Thursday on an unsecured bond. Her first court appearance is scheduled for July 22.