NC deputy resigns after I-526 road rage incident - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

NC deputy resigns after I-526 road rage incident

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NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- A North Carolina deputy who is the focus of a YouTube video that is gaining a lot of traction along the coast has resigned.

In an interview Wednesday, Deputy Craig Culpepper said he just wanted the man in the pickup truck with the video camera to just go away.

"I felt antagonized by him and I really just wanted the guy to go away," Culpepper said. "If you want to go do your thing, go do your thing. Don't bother me with it."

Culpepper, who worked for the Onslow County Sheriff's Office, was in North Charleston for K-9 training earlier this week, Sheriff Ed Brown said Wednesday, when he was caught up in a road rage incident on I-526.

"Deputy Culpepper, for no apparent reason, did what is called a brake check (immediately applied his brakes) thus the irate citizen struck Deputy Culpepper's vehicle in the rear," Brown said. "Deputy Culpepper tendered his resignation immediately after the Administrative Staff of the Onslow County Sheriff's Office and I addressed the matter with Deputy Culpepper."

The road rage incident was caught on video by Chad Walton, ChadWalton54 on YouTube, which sparked a colorful conversation about road rage and how police treat their brothers in arms. The video has been viewed over 250,000 times in less than a day on YouTube.

Walton posted the clip on Tuesday. It shows a motorist driving down the left lane of I-526  behind a North Carolina sheriff's deputy cruiser. In the clip, the driver claims the deputy was holding up traffic. In the comments section of the clip, Walton says the deputy was going 50 mph in a 60 mph zone.

In a 911 call released by North Charleston police, after Walton rear-ended Culpepper, Culpepper followed Walton to Northwoods Mall where local police officers were waiting. Walton confronted Culpepper after they stopped at the mall.

"I suggest you stay over there. I suggest you stay over there," Walton can be heard saying to Culpepper.

The 911 dispatcher chastised Walton, telling him to refrain from speaking to the deputy until officers arrived.

During the 911 call, Walton can be heard telling the dispatcher that he was "being chased" by Culpepper. "I'm afraid for my life," he said.

The call was made after the collision and Walton told the operator that Culpepper was following him closely.
 
"I am not stopping for an officer of the law from North Carolina in South Carolina, I will not do it," Walton said. "I don't know what his intentions are but I am scared for my life right now."
 
Culpepper tells a different story of a man being suckered into an incident with a man who has a history of recording officers while he drives the highways of the Charleston area.
 
Culpepper told ABC affiliate in Jacksonville, N.C., WWAY, that he was baited by Walton.
 
"I fell for it hook, line and sinker," Culpepper told WWAY by phone Wednesday.
 
Law enforcement sources in South Carolina tell WWAY they have had frequent encounters with Walton, who they say often drives around recording video of law enforcement officers trying to catch them in bad situations.

"The video is not the pieces," Culpepper said. "It doesn't show everything that took place."

Culpepper said he chose to cut off Walton, calling that part of the YouTube video indisputable. He said the decision was a mistake and he should not have done it.

Culpepper says he wishes he had a chance to tell his side of the story before the video aired online and on television. Culpepper says Brown offered him a chance to stay on as a detention officer.

Culpepper says he chose to resign instead.

Walton has a history of problems with law enforcement. A State Law Enforcement Division background check shows a string of incidents dating back to 1999 that include failing to stop for blue lights, giving false information, possession of a stolen vehicle, forgery and assault.

He was also classified an habitual traffic offender, records show.

According to the ticket, provided by the North Charleston police, the incident happened on Monday around 6:30 p.m. Unit 1 was driven by Culpepper, of Jacksonville, N.C. Unit 2 was driven by Walton, of Summerville.

The ticketing officer notes that Culpepper "braked suddenly causing unit 2 (Walton) to strike Unit 1."

The ticket does list "aggressive operation of vehicle" as a contributing factor to the collision and that no injuries were reported. What the ticket does not address, however, is what happened moments before the collision.

The video shows Walton passing Culpepper in the right lane and then getting back into the left lane in front of the deputy. The video then shows the deputy speeding up to pass Walton on the right, get in front of him, and immediately brake causing the collision.

The damage to the cruiser was estimated at $100, Brown said.

We will update this story as more information becomes available.

 

ABC affiliates WCTI and WWAY, from New Bern and Jacksonville respectively, contributed to this report.

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