Gaston County EMS official resigns following DWI charge

GASTON COUNTY, N.C. — The second in command at Gaston County Emergency Medical Services resigned Wednesday following accusations that he drove drunk last week.

Clyde Cantrell was charged with DWI after police said he blew a .23, almost three times the legal limit, last Friday night.

A driver caught Cantrell, a deputy director at Gaston County EMS, driving erratically and called 911 when he saw Cantrell’s truck veering into oncoming traffic several times.

“I don’t know if he is sick or drunk or something, but he is going to kill somebody,” the 911 caller said. “He’s about to wreck. He is going to kill somebody.”

Cantrell pulled into the driveway of his Stanley home and passed out at the wheel with the engine still on, authorities said.

A Stanley police officer said he beat on the window of Cantrell’s window and shined a flashlight inside for several minutes before Cantrell woke up. The officer said Cantrell had an empty bottle of vodka next to him.

(Clyde Cantrell)

Officials said Cantrell helped write the employee handbook on behavior. Stanley Police Chief Derek Summey said it’s sad to see someone entrusted with the public safety arrested, but he also noted that no one is above the law.

“Out there driving, putting people in danger, putting everybody’s safety at risk. It really makes no difference what he does,” Summey said.

Cantrell had been with Gaston County EMS since 1993.

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