04/18/13 — Doctor appears in court

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Doctor appears in court

By John Joyce
Published in News on April 18, 2013 1:46 PM

Dr. Michael Shane Hoover pleaded guilty in Wayne County District Court Wednesday to drunken driving and simple assault in connection with a January incident in which he responded to an emergency at Wayne Memorial Hospital while under the influence of alcohol.

His sentences, to be served concurrently, totaled 120 days in jail, suspended. He will instead serve 12 months of unsupervised probation and pay court costs and a $200 fine.

Hoover, 35, was charged Jan. 6 with driving while intoxicated and for a hit-and run-accident he caused en route to Wayne Memorial Hospital. He was also charged with an assault stemming from an altercation he had with a nurse once he arrived at the hospital.

His defense lawyer, Geoff Hulse, said his client "is a good man who had a bad day."

Since the incident, Hoover completed an eight-week stint in an Alabama rehabilitation facility for anger management and depression.

On Wednesday, Hoover stared straight ahead as the prosecution and its witnesses summarized the facts of the case for District Court Judge Charles Gaylor

Goldsboro Police Officer J.L. Arnette recounted the chain of events that unfolded that Sunday night in January.

The pediatrician was on-call and was summoned to the hospital to assist with a difficult birth. As he neared the hospital, Hoover rear-ended another driver on Wayne Memorial Drive at a stoplight outside the hospital. He did not stop to assist, but called 911 and told the operator he was a doctor on his way to an emergency.

Police, dispatched to the hospital to investigate the accident, were initially prevented from speaking with the doctor, as he was in with the patient.

They finally reached him, nearly two hours after the accident, in "an old linen closet" at the hospital, Arnette said.

By then the doctor had already been involved in an altercation with a nurse at the scene.

Hoover refused to speak at first, and several attempts at a portable breathalyzer test were unsuccessful. He later admitted to having had a single glass of wine.

Arnette said that by the time Hoover was driven to the magistrate's office, he had become compliant and even polite. He was given a DWI test on a machine called the intoxilyzer and his blood alcohol content was recorded at .15.

Gaylor considered the facts of the case and delivered the first sentence. The court was instructed to move on to the next case, the assault charge.

The assault victim, Gloria Best, recounted for the prosecution her encounter with Hoover, saying he frightened staff and patients by his actions.

In a soft voice, Hoover apologized directly to Ms. Best, and to his own family. He also addressed the mother and grandparents of the baby he had helped deliver. They were in the courtroom but were initially prohibited from speaking. When given the chance to speak later in the proceedings, they declined.

Hulse then asked Gaylor to consider a prayer for judgment, given that his client was remorseful and had undergone rehabilitation.

The judge declined.

The family of the baby waited outside the courtroom after the sentencing hoping to speak to Hoover directly, but were advised by police and court officials to work with the D.A.'s office to do so rather than confront the doctor in the hallway.

Ms. Best also waited outside the courtroom afterward. She said she would have liked to have seen the doctor punished more severely.

She added that she would have to testify at a medical board hearing that will determine whether Hoover will have his medical license, which was suspended after his arrest, reinstated.