A Craven County sheriff’s deputy who was reportedly driving 117 mph hit a deer early Monday morning as he was responding to a wreck. The accident has triggered an internal investigation by sheriff’s officials.
Deputy Andrew Byron Callaway, 41, of New Bern, was responding to a vehicle rollover that was called in to county dispatchers at 1:08 a.m. Monday by OnStar.
Shortly after the initial call for the rollover, the N.C. State Highway Patrol received a call at 1:16 a.m. to an accident involving a deputy’s patrol car hitting a deer.
The deputy’s crash occurred 1.09 miles south of Cove City on Trenton Highway near Heath Swamp Road and Cicero Riggs Road, according to investigating Trooper M.A. Riggs.
According to the trooper’s report, Callaway was traveling south when the 2013 Dodge patrol car he was driving struck a deer in the southbound lane. The car came to a controlled rest on the shoulder of the road.
The report states that Callaway’s vehicle traveled 779 feet after impact with the deer. He was not injured.
Craven County sheriff’s Capt. Joe Heckman said there is a no tolerance policy for driving at such high speed in the department.
It’s unclear what, if any, disciplinary action Callaway could face.
The patrol car sustained an estimated $7,500 in damages. The car was drivable, according to the Highway Patrol report. The car was taken to E&J Automotive.
Personnel records show that Callaway was hired by the sheriff’s department on Jan. 11, 2010. He is a deputy sheriff patrol officer. His salary is $33,615.
The Sheriff’s Office has experienced other high-speed crashes, including one in June 2011 that killed a Bridgeton woman and resulted in the firing and prosecution of a deputy on a charge of death by motor vehicle. The incidents drew the attention of Craven County commissioners wanting to know about Sheriff’s Office driving policies.
In the aftermath of the June 2011 crash, commissioners held back budgeted money for new vehicles until they got assurances from the Sheriff’s Office that the no tolerance policy would be revised and enforced and that a program for deputies’ driver retraining would be implemented.