04/22/07 — Former deputy starts over after DWI

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Former deputy starts over after DWI

By Lee Williams
Published in News on April 22, 2007 2:00 AM

Former Wayne County sheriff's Deputy William Young said the drunken driving charge he received in January after an accident in Edgecombe County was a low point in his life.

But the ordeal that cost him his job at the Wayne County Sheriff's Office taught him the importance of learning from mistakes, how to lean on God, and the value of friends.

"When you make an error, you adjust yourself and ask God for guidance," he said. "You learn from your mistakes, pick yourself up and drive on."

Young, 44, of Wilson, was charged with DWI after he lost control of his 1998 Ford Mustang, and on March 29, he was convicted of the misdemeanor infraction in Edgecombe County District Court, officials said.

Edgecombe County District Court Judge John Whitley sentenced Young to six months probation. He also ordered Young to pay a total of $410 in fines and court fees.

Young said he's glad the incident is behind him and now he's getting back on his feet, thanks to the help of friends from the Elm Grove Church, Booker Street Neighborhood Community Watch in Pikeville and his new boss, Wilson County Sheriff Wayne Gay.

Before Young's termination from the Wayne County Sheriff's Office in January, he worked for the Wilson County Sheriff's Department for about 11 years, officials said.

Once the case was settled, Gay allowed Young to come back to work as a Detention Officer II. Young's official first day of work was Monday, Wilson County personnel officials said Friday.

Young said he's glad he has his old job back and he credits Gay for giving him another chance.

"He's been a very good close friend of mine," Young said Wednesday. "He's been an adviser. He has taught me throughout my career."

The incident that ended his three-year career at the Wayne County Sheriff's Office began on Jan. 29.

According to Highway Patrol officials, Young was traveling on N.C. 42 near St. Louis Road at 10:40 p.m. in Pinetops when he lost control of his Mustang, crossed the center line, struck a tree and landed in a ditch.

Young was not injured, according to official reports.

Young added his vehicle was not damaged.

"I went to turn around and it went into a ditch and I couldn't get out," Young said.

Young was off-duty at the time. He was not in uniform and was not driving a county-issued vehicle at the time. However, he was carrying his issued service weapon, officials said. Troopers confiscated the weapon and turned it over to Wayne County Sheriff's Office officials.

A trooper detected a hint of alcohol at the accident scene and ran a Breathalyzer to see if Young's blood alcohol content was within the legal limits of .08 -- but it was not, officials said.

Young recorded a .13 and was arrested at the scene.

Wayne County Sheriff Carey Winders immediately fired Young in accordance with sheriff's office policy.

Young was the second Wayne County sheriff's deputy in just four months to be charged with drunken driving. Both officers were immediately terminated.

Winders acknowledged the stress that comes with wearing a sheriff's badge. However, he refused to condone the officers' actions and added drinking and driving would not be tolerated.

Young was a three-year veteran and had served with the Wayne County Sheriff's Office's Warrant Division.

At the time of his arrest, Winders said Young was a "good deputy." Winders expressed remorse over the dismissal, but said he had no choice but to take action.

Winders said Young later apologized for his actions.

The DWI case marked a painful chapter in Young's life and he dissuaded other law enforcement officers from following suit. He said drinking and driving could cost a life and he added it's not worth the risk.

"Just don't do it," Young said. "Every situation doesn't come out the same, so just don't do it."