FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. - Special agents from the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday arrested two former State Highway Patrol troopers after an investigation into ticket irregularities that began in June 2019 at the request of Highway Patrol and the Harnett County District Attorney, authorities said.
According to a written statement from the SBI, former Trooper Jason Benson has been charged with five felony counts of obstruction of justice; five misdemeanor counts of failure to discharge duty; and five misdemeanor counts of making a false return of process.
Former Trooper Christopher Carter has been charged with two felony counts of obstruction of justice; two misdemeanor counts of failure to discharge duty; and two counts of making a false return of process.
Benson and Carter were arrested Wednesday morning after turning themselves in at the Harnett County Detention Center, according to the SBI.
According to WRAL, a Highway Patrol supervisor first learned of the irregularities during a weekly citations review. At issue was whether the troopers had written an excessive number of tickets to the same drivers. The internal investigation focused on tickets issued by one trooper, but officials said there was evidence of another trooper’s possible involvement.
Benson, a nine-year veteran assigned to Troop B in Harnett County, "was separated" from the Highway Patrol three months ago and is no longer employed by the agency, First Sgt. Michael Baker, a spokesman for the patrol, told WRAL News in July.
Carter, a five-year veteran assigned to Troop B, had been placed administrative duty pending the outcome of the internal investigation, Baker said. He apparently is no longer with the agency, based on the release issued Wednesday by the SBI.
During the investigation, special agents identified more than a dozen victims who had been issued citations or charges unbeknownst to them, the SBI statement said.
Most of the citations stemmed from single-car accidents or abandoned vehicles.
In some cases, the two troopers charged individuals and failed to serve the citation, and the victims didn’t know they had been charged, therefore they didn’t show up for their court date, officials said.
As a result, arrest warrants were issued for some while others had their driver’s licenses suspended.
According to the SBI statement, the investigation is ongoing.
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