A North Carolina State highway patrolman was recorded on July 16 driving his police car up the wrong side of a highway, directly into oncoming traffic, while pursuing alleged street racers.
Reports emerged on July 19 that he has submitted his resignation after working at the agency for less than a year.
The Highway Patrol policy, obtained by WSOC TV, states that his actions are justified if the “need for the response outweighs the danger created and that the emergency response can be accomplished with due regard for the safety of others.”
Patrolman T.J. Williamson was on Highway 321 in Catawba County, on his way to catch BMW vehicles driven by members of a car club that were driving together for an event. Seven people were eventually caught and charged with impeding traffic. Five of the seven were charged with prearranged racing. Five of the seven cars were also seized.
There were numerous 911 calls about the group saying that they could cause an accident, but witnesses also questioned whether the actions of the patrolman were as dangerous to the public than the street racers.
“Street racing isn’t what you should be doing,” said Carisa Lynn, a witness who recorded the patrolman, “But it was more reckless, in my opinion, of the police officer to be driving the way he was driving.”
It’s not clear whether Williamson succeeded at catching the BMWs as a group of patrolman descended upon them. A call to the North Carolina State Highway Patrol was not returned.
North Carolina lawyer Adam Seifer, who represents the accused drivers, says the group was a national BMW enthusiasts club, that this may have been their first meeting, and maintains they were not racing.
Seifer said via phone that the group started out in South Carolina and were accompanied by a BMW representative filming the event. He doesn’t know how the patrolman’s resignation will impact the case, but says it won’t have a negative impact.
From NTD Television