Friday, May 27, 2022

Wilmington council member arrested for DWI

Charlie Rivenbark, a longtime council member, was charged with driving while impaired and failing to maintain lane control

SOUTHEASTERN N.C. — A longtime Wilmington City Council member was arrested Wednesday for driving while impaired.

Charles Rivenbark, 73, was stopped in Leland around 1:45 a.m. and blew a 0.11 blood alcohol level, according to the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office. It is illegal to drive with an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher in North Carolina. Rivenbark was also charged with failing to maintain lane control, according to a warrant.

Rivenbark was booked into the Brunswick County Detention Center and released with a written promise to appear as his bond. His court date is scheduled for June 27.

In an emailed statement, Rivenbark said he was leaving Myrtle Beach, where he was on a trip with colleagues. He left early to be with his son, who was experiencing an adverse medical event.

“My son is a quadriplegic and his health and wellbeing are my top priority,” Rivenbark wrote. “Later that evening I made the decision to leave Myrtle Beach and come home to be with him and to help his mother. I did not think that I was impaired. In hindsight, it was not the right decision but it was the one I made based on the knowledge that he was in pain. I accept responsibility for my actions and I am truly sorry for this situation I have created.”

According to a warrant, Leland Police Department was a witness and the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office made the arrest.

Rivenbark has served more than two decades collectively on city council. He was first elected in 1993 and was re-elected to four-year terms in 1997, 2009, 2013, 2017 and 2021. In the most recent race, he was the second-highest vote getter with 16% of ballots cast in his favor.

This is a developing story.

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Alexandria Sands
Alexandria Sands is a journalist covering New Hanover County and education. Before Port City Daily, she reported for the award-winning State Port Pilot in Southport. She graduated from UNC Charlotte and wrote for several Charlotte publications while there. When not writing, Williams is most likely in the gym, reading or spending time with her Golden Pyrenees. Reach her at or on Twitter @alexsands_

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