Local News

Durham police officer charged with DWI

Posted December 2, 2010 3:54 p.m. EST
Updated December 3, 2010 11:24 a.m. EST

— Durham police charged an on-duty officer with driving while impaired after he crashed his patrol vehicle Thursday morning on Fayetteville Street, police announced Thursday afternoon. 

Officer Kevin A. Stewart, 24, has been placed on administrative leave, said spokeswoman Kammie Michael.

According to the citation: "He had an odor of alcohol about his person and about his breath. His eyes were slighting glassy and blood shot ... He made the statement that he had consumed an alcoholic beverage within the last 12 hours."

His blood alcohol content was not released.

“Violations such as this will not be tolerated in our department,” Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez Sr. said in a statement. “As law enforcement officers, we are held to a higher standard, and I want the community to know that immediate and proper action is being taken.”

The crash happened at 9:10 a.m. when Stewart was driving his marked patrol vehicle north on Fayetteville Street near Timothy Street. He crashed into the back of a northbound vehicle, which had slowed for a traffic light, police said.

Damage to each vehicle was approximately $2,500.

"My personal reaction was disappointment," Lopez said. "I am hopeful people do not see this as being the police department."

After the crash, Stewart was taken for mandatory drug and alcohol testing in accordance with Durham city policy. The driver of any city vehicle involved in a crash must be tested within two hours, according to the policy.

After the test, Stewart was taken to Duke University Hospital for treatment of minor injuries suffered in the crash and was charged with DWI. The other driver, whose name was not released, was not injured, police said.

Stewart joined the Durham police in January 2009 and is assigned to the patrol bureau. No other information was released.

"Anybody who wants to go out into the city of Durham and drive while intoxicated, even if you are a police officer, you are going to be arrested," Lopez said.