Local News

Durham officer charged with DWI fired

Posted December 3, 2010 3:21 p.m. EST
Updated December 3, 2010 3:45 p.m. EST

— The Durham Police Department on Friday fired an officer who was charged with drunken driving Thursday after having a wreck while on duty.

Officer Kevin A. Stewart, 24, is charged with driving while impaired and failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident.

The crash happened at 9:10 a.m. Thursday as Stewart was driving his marked patrol vehicle north on Fayetteville Street near Timothy Street. He rear-ended a 1999 Ford driven by Jose Carlos Martin-Vegas, of Durham, who had slowed for a traffic light, police said.

Stewart told investigators that Martin-Vegas stopped suddenly as the traffic light turned yellow and that he tried to avoid a collision but was unsuccessful.

Stewart was treated for minor injuries at Duke University Hospital. Martin-Vegas wasn't injured.

After the wreck, Stewart was taken for mandatory drug and alcohol testing. Under a city policy, the driver of any city vehicle involved in a crash must be tested within two hours.

The results of Stewart's blood sample were turned over to the state crime lab for analysis, and his blood-alcohol content hasn't been determined yet.

According to the DWI citation, "(Stewart) 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."

The police department had placed him on administrative leave before his dismissal.

Stewart joined the department in January 2009 and had been assigned to the patrol bureau.