The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

December 9, 2013

Former deputy charged with DWI, speeding

STAFF REPORT
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER

TARBORO — A former Edgecombe County Sheriff's Lieutenant was charged with driving while impaired and speeding on Nov. 3 in Nash County. At the time, Alonzo Bell was still employed with the sheriff's office when he was pulled over for the traffic violations by M.P. Davidson of the N.C. Highway Patrol.

After he was charged, Sheriff James Knight said Bell contacted him and resigned from his position effective immediately.

Bell, who was in charge of the Civil Division at the sheriff's office when the incident occurred, had been with the department for over 20 years, according the Knight.

According to court documents, Davidson observed a 1997 Ford traveling at a high rate of speed and drifting across the center line on U.S. 64 at approximately 11:15 p.m. As Davidson observed the vehicle's erratic motion, he clocked Bell, who was in his personal vehicle, traveling 94 miles per hour in a 70 mile per hour zone.

The report stated, when Davidson approached the vehicle, the trooper smelled a strong odor of alcohol coming from Bell's person. Davidson asked Bell where he was going and Bell told him he was lost and was trying to get home.

Davidson wrote in the report that he noticed Bell's speech was slow and that he was unsteady on his feet when he exited the vehicle. As Bell exited his vehicle, Davidson stated in the report, he had to hold Bell's arm, because Bell almost fell.

Bell, 49, of 109 Brewer Court, Rocky Mount, was charged with driving while impaired and speeding. His blood alcohol content (BAC) registered .19 and .20, which is two times over the legal limit allowed in North Carolina. He was released to a sober adult after being charged.

According to N.C. Department of Motor Vehicle laws, any driver who registers BAC's of .16 or higher is required by law to have an ignition interlock system installed in their vehicle and has restrictions placed on their driver's license.

"He was a good deputy and was very professional while he was with the department," Knight said in a telephone interview. "Things happen in life and sometimes we make mistakes, but there is no excuse for what he did. I am sorry that it happened, but I will not tolerate that type of behavior in our department."

Bell is due in Nash County District Court Dec. 20 in Nashville. It is unclear if he has an attorney to represent him on the charges.