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MADD Leader Discusses DA’s Dismissal At FOP Meeting

Video shows MADD's Ellen Pitt discussing dismissal at meeting

By Chad Nesbitt

Asheville – On June 3rd, 2018, Sarah E. Hoski was arrested by a North Carolina Trooper and charged with DWI. The Woodfin Police Department says that one of their officers was patrolling Brookdale Road and North Woodfin Avenue. At 2:30 am their patrolman was struck by a vehicle Sarah Hoski was driving. WPD says Hoski crossed the double yellow line. The NC Highway Patrol worked the accident scene and filed a report.

The Woodfin police officer was okay and sustained only minor injuries. The patrol car was totaled with over $40,000 worth of damage. Hoski submitted to a chemical analysis test. According to results on court documents, Hoski showed a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.16 which is twice the legal limit.

Hoski recently had all charges dropped by Buncombe County District Attorney Todd Williams on December 6, 2018.

Asked about the dismissal Williams told the Leader, “But for the impermissible social media post made by the WPD, this case would have been readily prosecuted by this Office. This Office takes enforcement of DWI laws very seriously. We maintain among the highest conviction rates for the offense of DWI in the State of NC. However, we must always balance our ethical obligations under the law to ensure Due Process and a fair judicial process with vigorous advocacy on behalf of law enforcement to ensure public safety.”

Local MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Drivers) president Ellen Pitt had some strong words about the charges being dropped at the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) meeting this past Friday. (see video below)

Pitt said, “The, (District Attorney’s), reason, (for dismissal), given on the long form is that social media postings on the Woodfin Facebook page.” Pitt says she and others looked at what people said on the Facebook page and people were saying things like, “Glad the officer wasn’t hurt”, “Thank God you got her off the road”. Pitt said the DA claims that the social media posts “would not be able to give her, (Hoski), a fair trial.”

Pitt said, “I wrote Mr. Williams, the DA, a letter and expressed my feelings about the case being dismissed…Then I come to find out that he, (Todd Williams), never met with the officer in the vehicle. He never met with any of the victims which were the officer, the agency and the taxpayers.”

Pitt explained to the large crowd of law enforcement officers that Todd Williams said he did not speak with the family of Hoskins but later told WLOS reporter Kimberly King that he did speak with the family and Hoskins father. The Leader has not confirmed Pitt’s claim that Williams told WLOS’s King that he had met with Hoski family. A claim confirmed by the Leader.

Pitt said, “The media coverage and social media posts were no different than any other case.”

Williams told the Leader, “The simple fact that the post was made by law enforcement makes it different. Law enforcement simply cannot make an out of court statement about a matter pending before the court absent a ‘legitimate law enforcement purpose.’ These constraints do not apply to the media or the public. The reason for the rule is to ensure that we have a fair and orderly trial process in our public Courts that our community can trust.”

Editor’s note: Clint Parker contributed to this report. Also see Weaverville Tribune story here.

 

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