Leland officer arrested in Pender County

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By Sam Hickman

 A Leland police officer was arrested and charged with driving while impaired Saturday, Sept. 21, in Pender County.

Ryan O’Connor was arrested after 911 dispatch received several reports from other drivers who said that a gray pickup was “driving erratic and weaving on the roadway,” according to a news release from Leland Police Lt. Joseph Pierce.

A Pender County deputy stopped the vehicle and made note of O’Connor’s slow speech and disorientation. After O’Connor identified himself as a police officer, the deputy immediately notified the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.

There was no evidence of alcohol in O’Connor’s vehicle nor was there any presence of alcohol in his system, which was verified by three separate preliminary breath tests, Pierce said.

Troopers took O’Connor to Pender Memorial Hospital to have blood work conducted for any other impairing substance in his system. The results have been sent to the state lab. Leland Town Manager David Hollis said he has been told the results could take more than nine months to process. He said he’s trying to expedite the process so the matter can be resolved.

O’Connor was screened and cited for DWI by a trooper and released. He then went to the emergency room at Dosher Memorial Hospital in Southport to be treated for a head injury he suffered Friday, Sept. 20, Pierce said. O’Connor did not realize the extent of his head injury until doctors told him he had suffered a concussion in the line of duty.

Hollis said O’Connor was working with the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office Vice/Narcotics Task Force when he fell while executing a search warrant.

Hollis said O’Connor’s license has been suspended for 30 days and he has placed on administrative leave with pay pending the investigation.

O’Connor has filed a worker’s compensation claim and is scheduled for an MRI later this week, Pierce said.


Sam Hickman is a staff writer for the Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or shickman@brunswickbeacon.com.