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Southport officer's BAC more than two times legal limit in deadly crash

Updated: Apr. 6, 2017 at 3:21 PM EDT
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SOUTHPORT, NC (WECT) - An off-duty Southport police officer had a blood-alcohol content of more than two times the legal driving limit in the state when he was killed in a single-car crash, according to a toxicology report released Thursday.

Officer Jason Freeman, 29, was driving his patrol car an estimated 100 mph on Stone Chimney Road at around 5:20 a.m. on March 12 when he ran off the road to the right and hit a ditch, causing his vehicle to overturn, according to a State Highway Patrol crash report. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

A toxicological examination showed his blood-alcohol content was .17. It is illegal to drive a vehicle with an alcohol concentration of .08 or higher in North Carolina.

It remains unclear why Freeman was driving his patrol vehicle off duty, which against the police department's policy, according to Chief Gary Smith. His last shift with the department was March 9.

Smith said Thursday the department had closed its internal investigation into the incident.

"There is no information as to why he was operating his patrol vehicle at the time of the accident," Smith said. "As far as our agency is concerned, Officer Freeman served the citizens of Southport above and beyond the call of duty and has paid the ultimate price for any policy violations or misconduct if any. His family will continue to be in our prayers."

On Wednesday, Oak Island Mayor Cin Brochure posted a video of Smith presenting a plaque to Freeman's wife, honoring him as Southport officer of the year. Smith said Freeman's colleagues had selected him for the honor prior to the deadly crash.

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