PENDER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – A deputy with the Pender County Sheriff's Office and former school resource officer was charged with a DWI Tuesday morning. A 911 call reveals that at one point, the deputy himself was on the phone with 911 dispatchers.
While on the phone, William Paluck claims, he "just fell asleep" and that he's "tired." He stays on the phone with highway patrol for several minutes and explains that he had been working since 7 a.m. When asked by highway patrol where he was, Paluck did not seem to know. Later in the call, he claims he has blood sugar problems. When the trooper arrives, he gets on the phone with highway patrol and explains that Paluck is "trembling"
In the beginning of that call, the man who called highway patrol describes Paluck's driving in the following way. "He is dropping down to 50 mph, then jumping up to 65, he is crossing over the center dotted line...and then he is crossing over to the right hand side and crossing the white line to where the tires are on the dirt. Now he is stopped at a stop light, he looked like he had a nervous twitch like he was shaking a little."
According to the sheriff's office, dispatch centers received several calls regarding a Pender County Sheriff's Office patrol car operating unsafely on Highway 17.
"This morning I was driving to work and I witnessed one of your deputies traveling and they looked 10-55 (drunk)," said a former deputy to Captain J.T. Hock. "I didn't know if they were drinking or extremely tired, so I called it in, and I just wanted to make sure they were ok."
Highway Patrol in Elizabethtown also received calls about the driving and contacted Pender County authorities to see what was going on.
"Have you all gotten any reports of one of your deputy's cars very erratically driving," asked Highway Patrol.
At the time of the initial call from Highway Patrol, Pender County had not received any calls. They tried to radio the deputy involved but was unable to reach him.
"What are they saying he is doing?" Pender County asked Highway Patrol.
"Apparently, he is driving really, really erratically - speeding up, slowing down, driving off the road," explained Highway Patrol. "We are concerned."
Later in the call, highway patrol alerted Pender County authorities the deputy had crashed in front of Toby's.
"Yes sir, this, um...I'm on Highway 17, and there is a Pender County Sheriff's deputy that is driving so erratically, he's got to be drunk," said a separate caller to 911 dispatchers. "He's two foot into the grass and he's three foot into the other lane."
Highway Patrol First Sgt. Jeff Gordon said the accident happened around 7:45 a.m. outside of Jacksonville. According to Gordon, Deputy William Paluck was in uniform and his cruiser hit the back of another vehicle.
Troopers say he hit a 55-year-old white female, Linda Morrow, of Jacksonville.
Paluck was charged with DWI, failure to reduce speed to avoid colliding with a vehicle, and reckless driving.
According to the sheriff's office, Paluck was given a court date of September 18, 2013 at the Onslow County Courthouse.
Paluck began working for the Pender County Sheriff's Office in December 2009 and was the school resource officer at Topsail Middle School.
Hock said Paluck was notified his services were terminated with the sheriff's office as a result of this incident.
"The safety of students is the District's utmost concern," a school system spokesperson said in a statement Wednesday. "We have been in contact with the Sheriff's Department and they will continue to staff a resource officer at Topsail Middle School."
WECT.com reached out to New Hanover County and Pender County District Attorney Ben David for comment on the incident.
David said he has asked his juvenile crime division team to see which cases, if any, Dep. William Paluck was a part of during his time as an SRO.
Paluck's credibility may be in jeopardy because of these pending charges, according to David.
This is the second alcohol related incident for the Pender County Sheriff's Office for 2013.