Charges dropped against trooper arrested for DWI in Wilmington
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Because his engine wasn't running, a North Carolina State Trooper's DWI charges are being dismissed.
According to a news release from the Wilmington Police Department, Dennis Tafoya will not face charges after he was arrested on July 21 around 3:30 a.m. near the courthouse on Princess Street. Tafoya had been placed on paid administrative leave after being charged with DWI.
When officers approached Tafoya's car, the dashboard lights were on and Tafoya was in the driver's seat. Friday's news release states "an in-depth investigation revealed that Tafoya's vehicle engine was in fact not running during the initial contact.
"The law defines 'Driver' or 'Operator' as a person in actual physical control of a vehicle which is in motion or which has the engine running. The terms 'operator' and 'driver' and their cognates are synonymous."
A spokesperson with the Wilmington Police Department said Friday that Tafoya's keys were not in the ignition at the time of the stop. No additional charges will be filed against Tafoya.
Sgt. Christopher Knox said Tafoya has been with the State Highway Patrol for 23 years.
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