09/13/06 — Wayne County deputy fired after DWI crash

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Wayne County deputy fired after DWI crash

By Staff and Wire
Published in News on September 13, 2006 1:50 PM

Wayne County Sheriff Carey Winders regrets that he had to terminate one of his deputies who appeared to have a lot of promise.

But he said the actions of Deputy Mathew Sasser, 23, who allegedly got drunk in uniform and totaled his patrol car left him no choice.

Sasser smashed his patrol car on Raines Crossroads Road in neighboring Johnston County. Before climbing behind the wheel of his Wayne County patrol car, Sasser visited Trooper Matthew Hollomon, the son of Jerry Holloman, a candidate for Johnston County sheriff.

“I thought a lot of him,” Winders said. The grief of the event still visible on his face. “It was just one stupid lapse in judgment.”

Sasser was fired Tuesday within hours of being charged with driving while impaired, Winders said. A blood sample drawn from Sasser five hours after the crash found a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent, the level at which drivers in North Carolina are considered impaired.

A passer-by spotted the deputy’s wrecked patrol car about 5:30 a.m. Tuesday. When the patrol car was first located, there was no one around it, Winders said.

“It was learned that the patrol car was assigned to Deputy Mathew R. Sasser,” Winders said.

Sasser later returned to the patrol car. Sasser suffered scratches and bruises in the accident.

Sasser had an unlisted number in Johnston County and could not be reached for comment.

Holloman was questioned by the Highway Patrol about his role in Sasser’s accident, state Highway Patrol Lt. Everett Clendenin said.

Sasser had permission to drive his patrol car home but not to cross county lines unless he is assisting other law enforcement agencies, Winders said. No other cars were involved in the accident.

“This is 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 ahead of him,” he said. “But, because of this mistake and poor judgment he placed that career in jeopardy or ruined it.”

Winders said Sasser’s actions do not reflect on the “professionalism or effectiveness of other deputies or law enforcement officers or the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office.”