OCEAN CITY – An off-duty Ocean City Police Department officer was charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in Delaware early Wednesday morning when his car left the roadway along Route 113 after leaving a Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Christmas party.
OCPD Officer Wilbur Thomas Jesson was driving on Route 113 near Georgetown, Del. shortly before 1 a.m. on Wednesday when his vehicle left the roadway and struck road signs before becoming disabled. Delaware State Police responded to the accident scene and believed Jesson to be under the influence of alcohol. He was taken into custody and charged with DUI before being released to another OCPD officer.
Jesson had earlier left a Delaware restaurant after attending a Christmas party sponsored by Ocean City’s FOP Lodge 10. Other attendees realized Jesson had too much to drink to drive and made arrangements for him to get a ride, but he apparently snuck out and decided to drive, according to Ocean City FOP President Corporal Glen McIntyre, who was clearly upset about the incident.
“We made accommodations for him after we recognized he had too much to drink last night,” said McIntyre later on Wednesday. “We secured a ride home for him, which he initially agreed to take, but he later left without anyone’s knowledge.”
OCPD Chief Bernadette DiPino reacted decisively when she learned of Jesson’s accident and subsequent arrest.
“This officer was suspended immediately,” she said. “We hold our officers to a higher standard when it comes to this kind of behavior and decision-making. I’m very disappointed in the choice he made.”
Jesson graduated from the Police Academy in June and has been with the OCPD for less than a year. An administrative hearing within the OCPD will be held in the near future, but DiPino would not speculate on Jesson’s future with the department. She did reiterate he would face the appropriate charges in a Delaware court.