When the average citizen gets a DUI it’s a criminal offense.  When an off duty police officer gets a DUI, it’s all over the news and yes, still a criminal offense.  When an on-duty police officer in a marked police car gets a DUI and wrecks his cruiser-it’s unbelievable!

But, that’s exactly what happened in Durham, North Carolina (NC).   An on-duty Durham police officer was charged with DWI this morning after he wrecked his patrol car, according to a Durham police spokeswoman.

The officer was driving his marked patrol car north on Fayetteville Street when he rear-ended another vehicle that had slowed for a traffic light.  Fortunately the driver he crashed into only had minor injuries.  I can’t imagine how surprised the motorist was when he stepped out of his car and discovered that a drunken cop had run into him.  The police officer has been charged with driving while impaired.

As comical as the situation seems, (DUI/DWI) drunk driving is no laughing matter.  Over 11,000 people are killed in drunk driving accidents each year in the United States – and one person dies in a drunk driving accident every 45 minutes. Not to mention, more than half of all car accidents on weekends also involve drinking and driving.  In North Carolina alone, 31 percent of all serious & fatal traffic accidents involved alcohol. In 2006, 460 people died in North Carolina due to drunk driving accidents. After decades of representing DUI victims, my colleagues and I never stop being shocked by the physical and emotional damage drivers impaired by alcohol and drugs cause. I’m just disappointed that a police officer has betrayed the trust of the public and in the process gave his whole department a black eye.