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Thursday, May 23, 2024

911: 4 callers allege off-duty WPD officer appeared to ‘intentionally’ run over female

911 calls reveal an off-duty Wilmington Police Department officer who was charged with DWI and reckless driving appeared to intentionally run over a female pedestrian. (Port City Daily/file)

WILMINGTON — “It almost looked like it was on purpose; he was in front of me and turned around really fast and just flew into the mulch and hit her,” a female caller told New Hanover County 911 dispatch on Tuesday.

READ MORE: WPD officer on leave following DWI, striking pedestrian

She was one of at least four witnesses to the accident involving an off-duty Wilmington Police Department officer, who was charged with driving while impaired and reckless driving.

WPD officer Darryl Warren was arrested around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, after striking both a pedestrian and a parked car. He blew 0.10 blood alcohol level, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol informed Port City Daily earlier Tuesday.

NCSHP was called to the scene by WPD, once law enforcement realized Warren was an off-duty officer, “to avoid any potential conflicts of interest,” according to Lt. Greg Willett. 

Sgt. Marcus Bethea with highway patrol said when Warren was attempting to make a U-turn, he ran off the side of the road and struck a pedestrian and parked vehicle. Bethea confirmed the pedestrian, identified as a 34-year-old female, and Warren knew each other.

Multiple 911 calls, shared with PCD, indicate the incident wasn’t necessarily an accident. Witnesses all use the word “intentional” when reporting to dispatchers what they saw.

One of the callers reported Warren was carrying a weapon.

“There’s a male in a truck, he hit his — apparently his girlfriend — she’s in the back seat and hurt,” a female caller said. “The male has a gun on his hip; a Black male. He’s acting like it was an accident, but I don’t know.”

According to the state highway patrol, Deathiage was taken to the hospital and treated for minor injuries.

The callers said a silver or gray truck, driven by a Black male in his 30s or 40s, drove off the road near Costco in front of the Best Western and IHOP. Some said the truck appeared to be stuck in the grass and was damaged; all confirmed someone was struck.

The female was described as a Latina with dark hair, who was wearing red shorts. The callers indicated she was hit, stood up and got into the back seat of Warren’s vehicle.

“I hope they investigate it because it was really terrible, the way he did it — it almost looked intentional,” one female caller said.

She added she was driving behind the truck when the driver started to slow down.

“He just stopped in the middle of the road and made an illegal U-turn, his wheels squealing and everything when he turned and drove right up to the curb,” she said.

The 911 dispatcher told the lady the department received “multiple calls for this incident.” One of the recordings is a New Hanover County 911 dispatcher returning a phone call.

“We missed your call; we had a lot of calls coming in,” the dispatcher said.

In response, the male told her a guy hit a woman — “I believe it was intentional” — with his vehicle.

Another male, who was on the phone for nearly 7 minutes, seemed panicked. He said he was headed into Costco but turned around when he saw what happened.

“I don’t know if this dude’s crazy or what — but I saw him run over a lady,” he told 911. “The lady got out of the truck and ran across the road, all the way past IHOP and past the hotel. And I saw her running, so I turned around to see if she was alright. … I literally watched the guy run her over.”

When the dispatcher asked the make and model of the truck, the male couldn’t see it from where he was and wasn’t sure he wanted to get any closer.

“I’m nervous to go over there,” he said. “I don’t know if the dude’s got a gun or not.”

Warren has been placed on paid administrative leave with the WPD; an internal investigation is underway. The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation is also looking into the incident. 

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