County employee fired for 'misrepresenting facts' about DWI arrest

County employee fired for 'misrepresenting facts' about DWI arrest
Updated: Apr. 28, 2017 at 5:13 PM EDT
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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - The manager of the New Hanover County Emergency Management Services has been fired effective Friday after failing to disclose "significant information" and "misrepresented facts" about his DWI arrest, County Manager Chris Coudriet announced Friday.

WECT began asking questions Tuesday about the April 6 arrest of Frank Hackett after receiving a tip he was still driving his county-issued vehicle.

County officials initially said Hackett was allowed to drive his county-issued vehicle after receiving a Limited Driving Privilege on April 17. During an interview Wednesday, Coudriet admitted it was his mistake to allow this, as it was against county policy, which states employees are not permitted to drive a county vehicle or personal vehicle on county business if their license is revoked for any reason.

WECT informed Coudriet Wednesday the results of Hackett's blood test were available in the court file, showing his blood-alcohol content was .15 percent, nearly twice the legal driving limit in North Carolina.

Coudriet said Friday after personally reviewing court records, he decided to dismiss Hackett.

"The decision to dismiss Mr. Hackett was made based on court records received [Thursday] that provided additional facts about the details of the incident." Coudriet explained. He added Hackett failed to disclose details about the blood test performed after he refused a breathalyzer.

The dismissal letter states Hackett reported "it would take two to three months to receive the blood test results used to determine the alcohol content" in his system at the time of his arrest. The letter also said Hackett led his supervisors to believe the results had not been returned Wednesday, when in reality they had been available since April 21.

Coudriet added Hackett also violated a directive to not drive any vehicle on county business after the policy discrepancy was identified Tuesday. Hackett reportedly drove his personal vehicle to his home on April 26 to retrieve his county vehicle, which a colleague then drove back to the Government Center.

"I want to say that I am disappointed, embarrassed that the county finds itself in this situation but ultimately I'm accountable and responsible for that and I fully accept that fact," Coudriet said Friday.

Hackett was not driving his county-issued vehicle at the time of his arrest, according to Coudriet.

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