CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A worker for the Interstate 77 tolls construction project is facing DWI charges after North Carolina Highway Patrol troopers arrested him on the job.
The arrest happened Friday afternoon in the construction zone, according to NCSHP.
Troopers said Joaquin Grancho, the owner of Pavers, Walls and Stamped Concrete, of Fort Mill, South Carolina, was driving the wrong way on I-77 in the median. Troopers said Grancho’s employees witnessed it and were able to get Grancho to stop and surrender his keys.
North Carolina Sen. Jeff Tarte, R-Cornelius, said the NCDOT should have a staff member assigned to patrol the project to look for violations.
“We really need to have NCDOT step up and have really put assigned crews fulltime to start measuring compliance with the contract,” Tarte said.
When troopers responded, they reported Grancho was staggering and had a strong odor of alcohol. Troopers say Grancho blew a .05 about an hour after the initial stop, but he was arrested due to probable cause.
Troopers said this is Grancho’s fourth DWI arrest since 2011. In addition to being impaired, troopers said Grancho was driving with a suspended license.
A spokesperson for Sugar Creek Construction, the Cintra-affiliated company building the toll lanes, said the company was made aware of the arrest Friday afternoon.
Pavers, Walls and Stamped Concrete has been working on the toll lane project for 1 1/2 years, according to a spokesperson for Sugar Creek Construction. The company has mainly been doing concrete flat work.
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Sugar Creek Construction said the company was not responsible for building the concrete wall that was recently discovered to have been built below safety standards.
Despite the arrest, Sugar Creek Construction said the company is still involved with the project.
“The company, as a whole, has performed well on the project and we will not punish the local employees for the poor choice that was made of Mr. Grancho,” Heather DeLapp, of Sugar Creek Construction, said. “The incident is currently being reviewed internally and disciplinary actions will be taken accordingly. We have a zero tolerance policy for alcohol-related incidents and any unsafe behaviors in the work area.”
DeLapp said the contractor Pavers, Walls and Stamped Concrete is approved by the NCDOT. All subcontractors are selected based on previous work history, experience and price. NCDOT approved the selection.
A spokesperson for NCDOT said the department also found out about the arrest Friday afternoon. According to NCDOT, it is the responsibility of the contractor to screen its employees and perform background checks, and all subcontractors must have preapproved status to work on NCDOT projects.
“The contractor will have the opportunity to address this matter,” Jennifer Thompson of NCDOT said. “If we feel the employee needs to be removed and the contractor does not take that step, we have guidelines in our statewide contract specifications that allow us to do so.”
Grancho was booked into Mecklenburg County Jail on Friday afternoon on a $1,000 bond.
A spokesperson for I-77 Mobility Partners did not respond to an email seeking comment.
Pavers, Walls and Stamped Concrete is based at a house in Fort Mill. No one answered the door Monday afternoon. Calls and emails to the company have not been returned.
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