Hector Soler, the former 4th Security Forces Squadron Manager at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base accused of driving drunk and killing a 17-year-old in December 2016, retired at a lower rank earlier this year, the director of public affairs for the U.S. Air Force confirmed this week.
Col. Edward Sholtis stated in an email Monday that Soler's retirement was effective August 1, at the rank of Senior Master Sergeant.
Soler, 48, was a Chief Master Sergeant when he allegedly drove drunk off of SJAFB the night of Dec. 10, 2016, and collided with the rear of 17-year-old Johny Robert Watson's Jeep on George Street.
Watson's Jeep was sent 159 feet into a utility pole at the intersection of South George Street and Carver Boulevard.
Soler's speedometer was stuck at 70 mph after the wreck, according to the crash report filed after the incident.
A breathalyzer test given to Soler at the Wayne County Jail more than two hours after the wreck shows his blood alcohol content registering as 0.16 at 1:43 a.m., and 1:47 a.m. on Dec. 11, court records show.
Watson was taken to Wayne UNC Health Care with severe head injuries and then flown to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville.
There, the 17-year-old underwent emergency surgery and was put into a medically-induced coma.
Watson died Dec. 15, 2016, five days after the crash.
Soler was initially charged with driving while impaired, failure to reduce speed and felony serious injury by motor vehicle.
When Watson died, Soler's felony charge was upgraded to felony death by motor vehicle.
Soler turned himself in on the escalated charge at the Wayne County Magistrate's Office the night of Dec. 15, 2016. He brought his attorney, Dustin B. Pittman, with him, and entered the magistrate's office wearing a gray sweatsuit with a hood pulled over his head.
Former 4th Security Forces Squadron Commander Maj. Gilbert Wyche was relieved of his command about three weeks after the crash.
Soler was his subordinate at the time of the wreck.
Police confirmed details surrounding the case in February of this year.
The captain of the shift that responded to the wreck in December said Soler was leaving the base and had been at a Christmas party.
Police said Soler was at someone's home on base before the Christmas party, and then went to another home before driving off the base.
The captain said both houses Soler was reportedly at earlier that night belonged to people with authority over him.
Soler's position as 4th Security Forces Squadron Manager put him in charge of 230 people, according to information obtained from SJAFB public affairs.
Soler enlisted in the Air Force in 1987 and was stationed in Goldsboro starting July 2015.
Prior to arriving in Goldsboro, Soler was stationed in Japan, New Jersey, Turkey, Virginia, Arizona, New York and Texas.