A Catawba County Sheriff’s Office deputy was fired after being charged with driving while impaired and crashing a sheriff’s office patrol car early Thursday morning while off duty.
Deputy Michael T. Watkins, 49, of Hickory, is charged with driving while impaired pending the results of a blood test, according to information from N.C. State Highway Patrol Master Trooper Jeff Swagger. He was fired following the incident, according to a release from the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office.
On Thursday around 2 a.m., highway patrol was asked by the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office to investigate a single-vehicle collision on Radio Station Road near Long Drive in Newton.
Troopers arrived and found a damaged Catawba County Sherriff’s Office patrol vehicle. It was being driven by Watkins, an off-duty deputy, Swagger said.
Watkins picked up his car from a maintenance appointment before the crash, according to the sheriff’s office.
“This conduct has not and will not be tolerated in my administration,” Sheriff Don Brown said in the release. “We have taken swift action in this matter. My office will continue to operate with the highest level of integrity and accountability to our citizens.”
The highway patrol is still investigating the incident, Swagger said.