• Social Services worker charged with DWI allowed to drive government car


    GASTON COUNTY, N.C. - A Gaston County Social Services worker recently charged with DWI has not been suspended or placed on leave, but the department's director said he's no longer allowed to drive a county car on the job.

    DSS Director Keith Moon said he couldn't go into further details, but said Derrick Hensley hasn't been disciplined following a DWI arrest in his personal car.

    It's the department's third employee arrested on DWI charges in the last nine months.

    On a quiet Gastonia street in early July, Child Protective Services worker Derrick Hensley was arrested for DWI and later released on bond.

    "It's dangerous, you know. He could have hurt somebody driving drunk," said Gastonia resident William Martin.

    So far, Hensley has not been disciplined. He's still allowed to drive a county car.

    Eyewitness News asked Gaston County DSS Director Keith Moon if a DWI arrest should now result in an automatic punishment, and he said no.

    "Each individual situation is just that. It's an individual situation," Moon said. "Everything depends on what extenuating circumstances existed."

    Social worker Yvette Smithen was arrested in early October and fired within three days.

    Gastonia police said she had her 4-year-old son in the back seat and she blew a 0.22 --- nearly three times the legal limit.

    Social worker Amanda Carrigan was also arrested in October and fired in early November.

    Witnesses said she was weaving in and out of traffic on a busy road and rear-ended an SUV.

    "They should know not to drink and drive," Martin said.

    Hensley was arrested on July 2 in his personal car. He was off duty and he reported the arrest to his supervisor.

    "A DWI would, in and of itself, would probably not be cause for disciplinary action," said Moon said there's no official policy for handling DWI arrests.

    Hensley's family told Eyewitness News they didn't want to talk about the arrest.

    Eyewitness News doesn't know yet what led police to pull Hensley over because the county courthouse was closed when a news crew arrived.

    But a reporter will pull those files Monday morning.

    Hensley will appear in court in early September for the DWI charge.

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