Editor’s note: This story was originally published in the September 2022 print issue.
Text and phot by Connie Leinbach
Although the tourist season is winding down, Capt. Joe Smith of the Hyde County Sheriff’s Office reported 58 traffic stops with more than half of them golf cart infractions.
“There were more traffic stops than last month and we dealt with a lot of underage drivers on golf carts,” he said.
Along with these infractions from July 16 to Aug. 15, there was one vehicle crash; one stolen golf cart where somebody took someone else’s golf cart and put it back in the wrong place, which was how the owner discovered it had been stolen.
Smith reported 10 information requests, which the sheriff’s office does not handle as part of their day-to-day duties, but these are requests gotten later in the night, Smith said.
“People coming off the ferry at midnight wanting a motel room,” he said. “Most motels (on Ocracoke) close their offices at 9 p.m. We tell them they can sleep in their car outside the sheriff’s office because they can’t sleep on National Park Service property.”
There were five larcenies, he reported, two of which involved shoplifting at island shops. The others involved beer taken out of the back of trucks.
He said these larcenies are felonies because of the intent to permanently deprive another of the item.
“If you reach into the bed of a pickup truck, reach into an open window or open a car door and take something, that’s a felony,” he said.
Smith also said there has been a lot of beer stolen out of the back of trucks.
“Most of the people don’t call us about it,” he said. “I hear about it.”
Six “welfare checks” were from deputies checking up on islanders whose loved ones hadn’t heard from them in a while.
Deputies responded to two dog bite complaints.
One happened when a child in the Variety Store parking lot approached an unleashed dog and the dog bit her in the cheek.
He said the parents waited 30 minutes before calling the police which resulted in the dog’s owners not being found.
“The child ended up getting rabies shots,” Smith said.
The other dog bite was at the NPS campground, and that owner had the dog’s rabies certificate.
Smith stressed that no one should approach a dog that’s not theirs.
There was one complaint of gun shots fired. The perpetrator was shooting a .22 at cans set on top of a cooler.
“We charged him because (a bullet) hit a house,” Smith said.
Ocracoke School opened Aug. 29 and all the kids are walking, riding their bikes or getting dropped off along Back Road.
This is the entrance to the modular unit, which was put in place while the new school is being built.
Smith said new traffic signs will be installed there along Back Road and he urged all motorists to drive slowly in the early morning, at lunch time and in the afternoon when school lets out.