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JAIL INTERVIEW: 'I was sitting there reading a Tom Clancy novel. That's all I remember'

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“I was sitting there reading a Tom Clancy novel. That’s all I remember,” William Augusta James said from jail Tuesday morning. “I was sitting there reading a Tom Clancy novel. That’s all I remember,” William Augusta James said from jail Tuesday morning.
Wilmington Police were able to apprehend William James at that railroad tracks, and after a brief struggle, arrested him. (Source: Brian Anderson) Wilmington Police were able to apprehend William James at that railroad tracks, and after a brief struggle, arrested him. (Source: Brian Anderson)
James continued to drive his van on Forest Hills Drive, until he came to the railroad crossing located near Colonial Drive where he turned onto the tracks, according to witnesses.. (Source: Brian Anderson) James continued to drive his van on Forest Hills Drive, until he came to the railroad crossing located near Colonial Drive where he turned onto the tracks, according to witnesses.. (Source: Brian Anderson)
Witnesses in the area said the front right tire of the van blew out, and a long indent was left in the pavement where James continued to drive on three wheels. (Source: Brian Anderson) Witnesses in the area said the front right tire of the van blew out, and a long indent was left in the pavement where James continued to drive on three wheels. (Source: Brian Anderson)
William Augusta James (Source: New Hanover County Sheriff's Office) William Augusta James (Source: New Hanover County Sheriff's Office)

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – "I was sitting there reading a Tom Clancy novel. That's all I remember," William Augusta James said from jail Tuesday morning.

James was arrested and charged Monday night after dispatchers received several different calls about separate crimes that he took part in.

Officials said James, 60, was involved in a minor traffic accident in the parking lot of the BP gas station on the corner of Market Street and Barclay Hills Drive. The driver of the car that was hit confronted James, but James took off in his van, fleeing the scene.

Police said James was followed by several witnesses, as well as the driver that he hit. James made his way onto Forest Hills Drive where he eventually slammed into a power pole close to Forest Hills Elementary School. The collision knocked out power in the area for several hours.

James continued to drive his van on Forest Hills Drive, until he came to the railroad crossing located near Colonial Drive where he turned onto the tracks. Witnesses in the area said the front right tire of the van blew out, and a long indent was left in the pavement where James continued to drive on three wheels.

Police arrested the man after he tried to wrestle away from the officers.

James said Tuesday he remembers drinking a 12 oz. cup full of vodka and reading, but nothing beyond that. He couldn't recall where the accidents took place or wrestling with police.

"When I come to my senses I was in a hospital. I asked them what happened and they said I got in a wreck," said James. "I just want to know what property damage was done."

The 60-year-old man said he lives in his van and had no plans to go out driving.

"I'm sorry this happened, that's for sure," said James. "I wish it didn't happen."

James explained he has been drinking on and off most of his life, and it's the major cause of him getting in trouble.

"I've been in different facilities, it will work for a while," explained James. "I went six years one time without drinking, but that urge just hit me again."

James said he's been convicted with one DWI in the past. Now he's charged with:

• DWI

• Hit and run (two counts)

• Careless and reckless driving

• Driving while suspended

• Resisting arrest

James said he plans to speak with an attorney "to figure out what's what."

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