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Onslow County deputy in alleged road rage incident takes job at jail

Published On: Mar 20 2013 10:48:14 AM CDT
Updated On: Mar 28 2013 12:23:31 AM CDT
JACKSONVILLE, ONSLOW COUNTY -

An Onslow County deputy, accused of a road rage incident that led to a fender-bender in South Carolina, has rescinded his resignation and will take a job at the county jail.

Deputy Craig Culpepper was in South Carolina for K-9 training on March 18, when he was allegedly involved in the road rage incident. According to a news release, it happened on I-526 in North Charleston, while Culpepper was driving his marked cruiser.

Onslow Sheriff Ed Brown did not fire Culpepper, but told him he would have to work in the jail as a detention officer.  Culpepper originally decided to resign instead.  But on Wednesday, Culpepper rescinded his resignation and took the job, according to a news release. Culpepper was not available to comment on why he changed his mind.

According to the crash report of the incident in South Carolina, Culpepper was traveling just a couple miles per hour under the speed limit in the fast lane. Driving beside Culpepper, in the right lane, was another motorist going in the same direction and traveling at the same speed.

Investigators said that a third car came up behind the deputy's vehicle and flashed its lights. According to a release, the sheriff described that driver, Chad Walton, as an "irate motorist." But Walton told NewsChannel 12 that Culpepper was holding up traffic, so he proceeded to flash his lights and gestured for Culpepper to move out of the way.

Walton said that's when he began recording the incident on his cell phone. He said he attempted to get in front of the deputy by going into another lane. Once Walton's vehicle was back in the fast lane, the deputy's car came up speeding in the right lane, only to then pull back into the fast lane.

According to investigators, Culpepper, for no apparent reason, did what was called a brake check (he immediately applied his brakes). That caused the other vehicle to hit Culpepper’s cruiser n the rear.

The investigating officer did not give anyone a citation but listed Culpepper as a contributor of the accident.  According to the fleet manager of the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office, the deputy's vehicle could be repaired for $100.

The Onslow County sheriff and his staff addressed the matter with Deputy Culpepper, and he turned in his resignation immediately afterwards.

Culpepper said if he had had a chance to speak with Walton, he would have said, "really dude? All of this? I've lost my job because you wanted to break the posted speed limit, and I wasn't going as fast as you wanted me to?"

Culpepper added that it was Walton's aggressive driving that put him in the situation, but he takes ownership of the mistake he made of cutting another driver off and being a contributing factor to the fender-bender.