Second witness testifies to odor of alcohol at scene with chief

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By Caroline Curran, Reporter

BOLIVIA—Terri Oxford said she smelled alcohol when Holden Beach Police Chief Wally Layne responded to a cardiac arrest on Holden Beach in November 2004.

Layne said he wasn’t intoxicated that November evening—that he wasn’t even drinking.

Oxford, who worked for the town police department from 1999 until 2008, filed a wrongful termination and gender discrimination lawsuit after she was fired from the town in 2008.

On Wednesday, the seventh day of testimony in the trial, a paramedic at the scene testified he, too, smelled an odor of alcohol coming from around Layne.

Robert Prevatte, a firefighter with the Oak Island Fire and Rescue Squad, testified Wednesday afternoon as one of Oxford’s rebuttal witnesses.

In 2004, Prevatte worked for the Tri-Beach Fire Department and volunteered with a rescue squad at Holden Beach. He responded to the scene.

When asked if he smelled alcohol on Layne, Prevatte responded he did, acknowledging there was another person with Layne, which Layne and Oxford both testified was a Virginia State Trooper.

“When I walked past him, there was alcohol in the vicinity. That is correct, sir,” Prevatte said.

In her testimony last week, Oxford recalled the events of Nov. 10, 2004.

“[Layne] stopped in the doorway…He had a friend of his and he had introduced to me before, a retired highway patrol [officer] that had come down for a visit from Lynchburg [Va.],” Oxford said.

“He asked if I had had found out who they were yet. He said it in a rather high tone. He was very out of the ordinary. I recognized a strong odor of alcohol.”

Layne, in his testimony Tuesday, July 27, said he wasn’t intoxicated at the scene.

“I absolutely was not intoxicated, nor had I been drinking. I can take it one step further and say, ‘I wish I could smell alcohol 20 feet away.’”

“I was absolutely close enough, the fact is there was nothing to smell.”

The trial was expected to continue Thursday in Brunswick County Superior Court. Check back at www.brunswickbeacon.com for trial updates, and for the full story pick up next week’s issue of the Beacon.